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V- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON 



OR, ADVENTURES OF PAUL PROGNOSIS 
IN THE FORTY-NINTH CENTURY 



BY 

CHAUNCEY THOMAS 

EDITED BY 

GEORGE HOUGHTON 



BOSTON AND NEW YORK 
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY 

1891 



Copyright, 1891, 
Bt CHAUNCEY THOMAS and GEORGE HOUGHTON. 

All rights reserved 



The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U.S. A. 
Electrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton & Co. 












" The assertion that the sole essential quality of God's 
word is truth brings the Eternal Presence into instant 
communication with every pure spirit." — Rev. Newton 
M. Mann in A Bational View of the Bible. 



V 



AUTHOR'S PREFACE. 



Years ago, being unduly engrossed by busi- 
ness cares, the writer became aware that some 
sort of recreation was an immediate necessity. 
What should it be ? It must be something with 
force enough to lift me out of the ruts of every- 
day life, and away from its uncompromising 
facts, its obstacles to be overcome, and its 
sloughs of anxiety in which I was otherwise lia- 
ble to flounder. Reading, both heavy and light, 
had already served a good turn as a sedative, 
but this proved too mild treatment as a means 
of diverting a preoccupied mind. 

Heroic measures were finally determined upon 
in the form of close study, designed as a counter- 
irritant. A congenial subject was chosen : the 
material and mechanical possibilities of the fu- 
ture. Here was a field of inquiry limitless, and 
with scarcely a footprint. Here, the inventor 
could experiment on the largest scale, with no 



vi AUTHOR'S PREFACE. 

expense for models or patent-rights, and become 
completely absorbed in his self-imposed task, 
with no one to criticise his schemes. The plan 
worked admirably. An ideal world was thus 
opened, into which the imagination could enter 
at any time and wander serenely amid the glit- 
tering sights of a wonderland ever new, and with 
ever shifting scenes. 

This agTceable labor occupied many leisure 
hours between the years 1872 and 1878, within 
which period the substance of the chapters now 
gathered together in the form of a connected 
narrative was gradually committed to paper. 
Why it was not published at the time of its 
completion in 1878, and why, at last, it is now 
offered with some hope that it may tempt the 
appetite of a certain class of readers, even 
though already surfeited by imaginative litera- 
ture, are points that will be fully explained in 
the accompanying letter by the Editor, on 
whose shoulders rests much of the responsibility 
for the appearance of the story at this time and 

in its present form. 

Chauncey Thomas. 

Boston, Mass., March 3, 1890. 



EDITOR'S PREFACE. 



OPEN LETTER TO THE PUBLISHERS. 

Dear Sirs : — For three months past, the un- 
dersigned has been engaged in the pleasant task 
of editing, for a Boston gentleman, the manu- 
script of a novel entitled " The Crj^stal Button, 
or Adventures of Paul Prognosis in the Forty- 
Ninth Century," which may perhaps commend 
itself as a fitting companion-piece to Mr. Ed- 
ward Bellamy's " Looking Backward." 

Of course, neither author nor editor has any 
idea that it will rival that remarkable produc- 
tion ; but, in many ways, it helps to supplement 
with details the same general picture of future 
possibilities that Mr. Bellamy has so skillfully 
and attractively painted. 

Permit me to state briefly that the present 
imaginative work, of which the accompanying 
table of contents will give some idea, was written 



Vin EDITOR'S PREFACE. 

many years ago by the well-known coach-builder 
of Boston. The thought was to foreshadow the 
future possibilities of mechanical and material 
development ; and the work of authorship was 
entered upon as a means of diversion from the 
cares of business. 

The original manuscript, now before me, shows 
that it was begun in 1872, and that the author 
wrote the closing page on February 9, 1878. 
The slight story, now cut in two and used as 
" Introduction " and " Conclusion," was written 
somewhat later, but bears no date. 

About the year 1880, the author showed me 
this manuscript, and asked advice whether it was 
suitable for publication in book form. I read it 
with great interest, but reported that, in my 
humble opinion, it needed and well merited 
somewhat more finish, and also required to be 
sustained by some sort of narrative. It is to be 
feared that this report served to shelve it, for I 
heard nothing more about it until I read Mr. 
Bellamy's book in August of last year, when its 
remarkable similarity in general scheme to that 
of " The Crystal Button " led me to request an 
opportunity to re-read the latter. As a result of 



EDITORS PREFACE. IX 

the correspondence that followed, the author ex- 
pressed willingness to make it public, providing 
I would undertake the work of rearranging and 
editing it, which agreeable task is now approach- 
ing a finish. 

I believe it to be a good book, in every way 
helpful and stimulating, decidedly practical in 
many of its suggestions, and covering a great 
variety of topics that seem to me to appeal to 
the interests of large classes of readers. 

Its chief defect, if such it may be called, is 
the fact, already stated, that its general scheme 
so closely resembles that of Mr. Bellamy's book 
that it would be difficult to convince the public 
of its priority, — a task I should shrink from un- 
dertaking, although I know it to be a fact. It 
is unfortunate that its scene should likewise be 
laid in Boston ; but there seems no sufficient 
justification for an editor's attempting to change 
the locality, especially in view of the danger of 
complicating numerous references that might 
easily be made inexplicable. 

On the other hand, the author departs from 
Mr. Bellamy's track by dealing mainly with 
mechanical and material development, as the 



X EDITOR'S PREFACE. 

table of contents clearly shows; and just here 
he naturally possesses originality and strength, 
being one of the ablest mechanics and inventors 
that the American coach trade has thus far pro- 
duced. It is only near the close, in the chapters 
entitled " Law," " Government," and " Money," 
that he enters Mr. Bellamy's field, and he does 
so by cross-paths. To the suggestion that the 
introduction of certain notes in passing might 
help to emphasize or supplement some of Mr. 
Bellamy's views, the author has not only pro- 
hibited this, but also requested the removal, so 
far as possible, of everything in his original 
manuscript that might suggest parallelism with 
any ideas presented in " Looking Backward,'* 
although, at the same time, he expresses general 
approval of the ideas therein advanced. 

In the judgment of the editor, however, the 
all-important point of the present book is its 
theory of the simple but effective means by 
which the world finally attains the high level of 
the new civilization, which is described through 
the teachings of a reformer known as elohn Cos- 
tor, whose text is ever "Truth ! Truth ! " It is 
Costor's emblem, the crystal button, that very 



EDITOR'S PREFACE. xi 

fittingly gives the title to the book. Upon this 
foundation of truth, exerting its benign influence 
in wholly peaceful ways through the instrumen- 
tality of the individual, the family, social life, 
the arts, the government, and finally through the 
grand consolidation of all governments, he erects 
the pillars of his ideal state. Whatever Social- 
ism and Nationalism may or may not accom- 
plish, this lesson of truth-loving and truth-ob- 
serving is certainly a kind of seed that can hardly 
fail to produce good fruit, whatever the soil on 
which it may chance to alight. In this, as you 
will observe, consists the moral force of the 
book. 

Please pardon the length of this letter, but I 
feel desirous to do my duty, as far as I am able, 
in adequately introducing the work to your atten- 
tion ; and, with your permission, it will give me 
pleasure to submit the manuscript to you as soon 
as it is completed. 

Very respectfully yours, 

George Houghton. 

YoNKERS, New York, February 10, 1890. 



CONTENTS. 



Author's Preface v 

Editor's Preface vii 

PART I. INTRODUCTION. 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. Paul Prognosis meets with an Accident 1 

II. Paul, bids his Wife " Good-Night " . . 9 

PART 11. A DAY'S RAMBLE WITH PROFESSOR 
PROSPER. 

III. Paul's Remarkable Introduction to the 

City of Tone " 15 

IV. Paul makes the Acquaintance of Pro- 

fessor Prosper 19 

V. The Expected Advent of a Celestial 

Visitor 27 

VI. Three Thousand Years 35 

VII. The Tower of Peace and Good- Will . . 41 

VIII. A Bird's-Eye View of the City .... 48 

IX. The Underground Railway 55 

X. The Hospital 66 

XI. The Pyramids 75 

XII. A Dinner at the Restaurant .... 89 

XIII. The Meeting of the School of Sciences 98 

XIV. A Glimpse of Country Life 112 



xiv CONTENTS. 

PART III. THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

XV. The Library 128 

XVI. The Downfall of Old Forms 139 

XVII. Appearance of John Costor, the Apos- 
tle OF Truth 147 

XVIII. The Order of the Crystal Button . . 160 
XIX. The New Civilization 168 

PART IV. A DAY'S RAMBLE WITH MARCO 
MORTIMER. 

XX. The Standard Peitdulum 173 

XXI. The Air-Ship 181 

XXII. Meridian Peak Observatory 187 

XXIII. The Transcontinental Railway .... 193 

XXIV. Mount Energy 207 

XXV. The Solar Steam- Works 215 

XXVI. The Palace of the Sun 220 

PART V. THE CELESTIAL VISITOR. 

XXVII. An Evening at Home . 231 

XXVIII. The Administration of Law 240 

XXIX. The Government of Settled Forms . . 254 

XXX. Money 263 

XXXI. The Passage of the Comet 276 

PART VI. CONCLUSION. 

XXXII. A Ray of Moonlight 283 

XXXIIL Sunlight, AND "Good-Morning!" . . .290 

Postscript 299 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 



PART I. 

INTRODUCTION. 



CHAPTER I. 

Paul Prognosis meets with an Accident. 

" Mamma, is n't it a nice Christmas present ? 
Don't you think papa will like it ? " 

" I 'm sure he will, dear." 

The door-bell gave a sudden sharp alarum that 
was like a scream. Mrs. Prognosis sprang from 
her chair. " I suppose," she said, " it 's another 
telegram asking your father to hurry over to 
the broken drawbridge. But he must be there 
by this time. I do wish they would give Paul 
an hour's rest on this day before Christmas." 
She went to the door, her daughter following. 

" Your pardon, ma'am," sj^oke up a hoarse 
voice, " but I 've bad news for you." 

" Bad news ? Oh, about the broken draw ? 



2 TtlK CRYHTAL BUTT OX. 

I know about that. My husband is at the 
bridge now, attending to repairs." 

" It 's another sort of bad news that I 'm 
l^ringing you, ma'am." 

'^ Another sort ? Paul — my husband — what 
has hap2:)ened to him? Is he in any trouble? 

— is he dead ? Tell me, man, is Paul Progno- 
sis dead ? " 

" No, not dead, ma'am ; but he 's been hurt." 
"- How ? — Where ? — At the bridge ? I will 
go with you to him." 

" He is coming to you. They are bringing 
him to you. No, ma'am, you must n't go." He 
put up liis left hand, in which he held his 
cap, as if to detain her ; then dropped it respect- 
fully, and repeated with a jjleading voice, while 
tears trickled down his pockmarked cheeks : 
" No, no ! ma'am, you must n't go. Dr. Clark- 
son is coming, and he sent me to tell you about 
it." 

" Tell me quickly, then, and tell me the truth." 

They stood close together on the trellised 

doorstoop of the contractor's house, on one of 

the steep hill-streets in the older part of the city 

— the slight woman with her earnest, troubled 
face, to whose skirts clung the shivering child, 
and the coatless workman, dripping wet, and with 
particles of ice in his beard and long hair. His 
right hand was concealed in a handkerchief, and 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 3 

a dark stain gradually spread about its folds, 
until a scarlet drop fell upon the icy coating of 
the stoop. But Mrs. Prognosis did not notice 
this, and the man made no allusion to it. The 
December wind that whistled through the lattice- 
work and dead leafage, chasing little whirls of 
fine snow, was biting cold ; but only the child 
seemed to feel it. " Patty, go indoors, and wait 
for mamma.',' The child silently obeyed. 

" You see, ma'am, there was an accident at 
the bridge, where the Boss put in his new patent 
draw last summer. A schooner, loaded with 
lumber, got caught by the tide and jammed in, 
side on, and chocked the draw so that the keeper 
could n't work her back, and travel was stopped. 
They sent for the Boss, and he and I — I 'm his 
foreman, ma'am — were at work down below 
there, when Jake Cummings, — you know him, 
perhaps — he 's the draw-keeper, an old fellow 
with rheumatism, and five children, and the old 
woman dead a twelvemonth, — he slipped on one 
of the guys, and pitched head-foremost in among 
the ice." 

" Yes, yes — but my husband ? " 
" Well, the skipper on the schooner threw a 
rope to the old man as he drifted past, but he 
missed it, and went downstream with the cur- 
rent. Then the Boss plunged in and followed 
him, swimming hand over hand in a way that 



4 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

made the crowd cheer. There they both were, in 
among the ice-cakes and some floating logs and 
lumber that had got loose from the schooner ; 
and the Boss soon had hold of Jake, but lio 
could n't seem to make any headway when ho 
turned upstream. When I saw that, in I went 
too, with Smudge at my heels ; and we ail 
brought up in a bunch, with the ice crunching 
about us, and a small boat from the schooner, 
that was trying to get at us, shoving the drift 
against our shoulders. It looked like we had 
seen our last Christmas, the whole lot of us, dog 
and all. Well, at last, I — we got him out and 
aboard the boat." 

" Who — who was it you got out ? " 

*' The Boss, ma'am." 

" Thank God ! and thank you, my friend ! " 

" And Smudge, too ; he ought to be thanked. 
He stuck to the Boss through it all. As for old 
Jake, 1 could n't get at him." 

" And my husband did n't succeed in saving 
him, after ail ? " 

"That I don't know." 

" He must have. Paul always succeeds." 

" I hope so, ma'am. Smudge went in again 
after the old man. As for me, I could n't see 
much after I got aboard the schooner, till Dr. 
Clarkson poured something hot into me. Ho 
will tell us. Here they come." 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. D 

Without another word the woman ran to meet 
the approaching file of men, bowed by the weight 
they bore between them on an improvised 
stretcher. Every hat came off as she drew 
near. It was growing dusky now, so she could 
scarcely distinguish the white face that lay 
there, but she kissed the cold lips, shivered, and 
gave a piteous look toward Dr. Clarkson, who 
only said : '' Have courage, Mrs. Prognosis. I 
think a warm bed is all that is needed." She 
stooped, and clasped in hers one of the cold 
hands, that gave no response. In that hand, 
clenched, while all else hung nerveless, she 
found a little rag of linen, with a buttonhole, in 
which clung a small glass button. She thrust 
this in her bosom, again took the chilly palm in 
her?, and accompanied the procession of silent 
men as they mounted the stoop and the front 
staircase to the south chamber, where a few 
neighbors gave what assistance they could, un- 
der the direction of the doctor, and then quietly 
retired. Beside the bed sat Smudge, the only 
spectator. 

For the next hour. Dr. Clarkson kept the 
tearless wife busily employed in doing whatever 
small tasks he could think of, whether helpful or 
not, and especially such as related to her child. 
He saw that she was calm — so calm that a 
stranger might have misjudged her. But the 
family physician knew. 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

Just before midnight, when breathing had 
been fully restored, he left her, saying : " I find 
no injury of any kind. He no doubt received a 
severe blow on the head from the ice or a drift- 
ing log, though I do not find even a scalp-wound. 
What the result will be, I cannot now foretell. 
But keep up courage, Mrs. Prognosis. I have 
known your husband many years. He is a 
strong man, in robust health, with everything in 
his favor, and I believe he will be spared to you 
unharmed. Fact is, a man like that we can't 
very well get along without. Everybody respects 
him, and the only ones who ever disliked him 
were a few malcontents who, at one time, ima- 
gined they had reason to fear his truth-telling. 
But some of these very men are now his best 
friends. There 's that Tom Haggerty, for in- 
stance, — he followed in after him with Smudge, 
and I hardly know which proved the better 
water-dog. Well, he seems to be perfectly com- 
fortable for the present. To-morrow morning 
we shall know more about the case. In the 
mean time I leave him in your care. I can do 
nothing further to-night, and you can do nothing 
but watch, wait, and hope. He helped to save 
old man Cummings like a hero, as he is ; and I 
think he '11 be able to receive thanks in person 
before the holidays are over. I hope so — I be- 
lieve so. Good-night." 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 7 

In the stillness of that night before Christ- 
mas, Mary Prognosis thus found herself in her 
chamber alone with her husband — with him, 
and yet alone, for, up to this time, he had given 
no sign of life other than his breathing and a 
low sigh now and then. Yet still not wholly 
alone, for in the next room she could also hear 
the breathing of her child — their child. " O 
God, spare my child's father ! " She knelt be- 
side him, and felt relief as a few tears gushed 
from her eyes. " This will never do ! — I must 
be strong." 

She passed downstairs and locked the doors 
of the house ; listened to the buffets of snow 
against the windows ; went into the child^s 
room and put the little hands under the cover- 
let ; and again returned to her husband's bed- 
side, where the dog still kept patient vigil. The 
bell in the city-hall boomed the first hour. 
She looked at the watch that had been taken 
from the drenched clothing. The hands re- 
corded thirteen minutes past three. That stilled 
minute-hand must have stopped just there when 
the crash came. She found the key, and was 
about to wind it — and then, suddenly chang- 
ing her mind, shut it in a little jewel case. Re-^ 
opening the case, she put beside it the glass but- 
ton, and then turned a key on both. 

How cold it was ! She spread another blanket 



8 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

on the bed. As she did so, the sleeper turned 
himself wearily, opened his eyes and raised them 
to hers with a confused look, that gradually 
calmed into a faint smile ; and he made a move- 
ment with his hand to take hers. Then, with a 
voice somewhat strange from weakness, he asked, 
with a pause after each word : "Is — Jake — 
all — right?" 

" Jake is all right, dear.'^ 

*" Then all 's well. I am very tired. Good- 
night, darling." 

" Good-night.'* 



CHAPTER n. 

Paul hids Ms Wife " Good-nightJ' 

From the time of that accident on Christmas 
Eve, Paul Prognosis never spoke an intelligible 
word, and never showed a sign of recognition of 
those about him, for a period of ten years. His 
life was spared, and his general health continued 
good, but the current of his thought was broken. 
Was it broken, or merely diverted ? Could a 
man, having the intelligence and training of 
Paul Prognosis, lose all power of connected 
thought while the engine of his heart still per- 
formed its functions, and his brain, apparently 
uninjured, continued to receive its full supply of 
vitalized fluid? Could concussion of the brain 
mean death to its tissues, while every other part 
of his body throbbed with vigorous life ? 

From boyhood, he had displayed a degree of 
mechanical knowledge that was closely allied to 
the intuition of a genius. His friends called 
him such ; if he had foes, they probably thought 
him a " crank," but no one ever heard that term 
applied to him. The small competency his 



10 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

father left him, he had devoted to gaining in- 
struction in his chosen pursuit. He had next 
worked in the car-shops, and been gradually 
promoted until he became master-mechanic, and 
then mechanical engineer. In every position he 
occupied, he soon became master of it. The 
more abstruse the problem presented to him, the 
greater the pleasure he found in solving it. 
His inventions were numbered by scores, and 
many of these were patented ; but he seldom took 
much further interest in a question he had once 
answered to his own satisfaction. He would 
hand the patent-j^apers to his wife, saying: 
" Well, Molly, you 're a better hand than I am 
at keeping things safe and snug. Put this 
where you can find it, and it may perhaps come 
handy some rainy day." 

Later, he began to be called on by corpora- 
tions all over the country to act as an expert in 
matters requiring mechanical keenness, and he 
finally left the car-shops, to become a contrac- 
tor on his own account. Thus far, he had not 
realized the profits he deserved. But his fame 
was worth a fortune, and he was just beginning 
to understand how it might be coined. And 
now, to be struck down in his thirty-fifth year, 
with the best part of his life before him and 
everything to live for, — and from no fault of 
his own, but the reverse, — all who knew him 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 11 

agreed that it was one of those dispensations of 
Providence that are unintelligible to those who 
have confidence in divine justice and compassion. 

For a time his friends showed active S3mipa- 
thy for him and for the woman who was well- 
nigh a widow, and also for the daughter who 
might as well have been fatherless. But the 
months became years, and calls for sympathy in 
other directions were many and pressing, and 
people gradually ceased to remember the Boss's 
misfortune — all but Dr. Clarkson. Oh ! old 
Jake, he never forgot ; but he was too old and 
too poor to do more than look and speak his 
sympathy. 

And the wife ? She hoped against hope until 
it died in her heart, and then set herself to work 
to eke out the small quarterly income she re- 
ceived from his annuity, and to give her daugh- 
ter such training as she knew he would have ap- 
proved. 

So the years slowly wore on, bringing many 
another Christmas eve and morn, but the man 
who had been a master among men now looked 
upon the faces of his nearest and dearest, and 
knew them not ; looked upon the electrical en- 
gine which his ov/n hands had made, and which 
at last began to find work wherever there was 
work to do, and saw not that it was an engine ; 
gazed from undulled eyes, and with a contented 



12 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

smile upon his lips, but gave no sif^n of recogni- 
tion to anything around him. He spoke — 
spoke often and connectedly, but seldom respon- 
sively. " Thank you," he would say to Dr. 
Clarkson ; " your conversation, Professor, in- 
terests me exceedingly. I do not think I fully 
follow you in your description, but the mechani- 
cal progress you indicate suggests wonderful 
development since the plodding steps of inquiry 
pursued in my day." The Doctor often sought 
to lead him further when he spoke in this man- 
ner ; but he would branch off into some irrele- 
vant remark, such as : " Wonderful, indeed ! 
but it precisely fills a need that we felt in the 
nineteenth century. I see that it means econ- 
omy of energy as well as of time." 

When, in the later years, the Doctor's son Will 
became a frequent visitor at the house, he always 
addressed him as Marco, and often appealed to 
the young man for information in regard to the 
workings of anything he happened to hold in 
his hand, seeming to regard it as some mechani- 
cal wonder. To his imagination, a waste-basket 
became a colossal tower ; a toy wagon, a railway 
train ; his wife's jewel-box, a mammoth tenement 
house ; or so it seemed to those around him, 
judging from his fragmentary comments. All 
faces, all things, were changed to him, but ap- 
parently in no way unpleasantl3\ He took un- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 13 

tiring interest in every new object to which his 
attention was called, and the same object always 
retained the new guise in which he first viewed 
it. The same waste-basket was always the same 
colossal tower. The only living thing that seemed 
to maintain quite the same relations in his in- 
ner as in his outer world, and that he always 
called correctly by name, was his dog Smudge. 
Smudge was his constant companion, both in the 
street and in the house ; and the intelligent de- 
votion of the dog was such that Dr. Clarkson 
was wont to remark that " Smudge evidently 
lives in dreamland as well as his master. And," 
he would add, " it must be a pleasant sort of 
place to live in, for a happier couple of friends 
you won't find in all Boston." 

It was quite clear that the windows of Paul's 
mental dwelling-place were closely shuttered. 
But inside those darkened shutters — what was 
going on there? There was life still there. 
And why not ? If nothing material can be ut- 
terly destroyed — not even the delicate fabric 
of this rice-paper, which burns and leaves 
no ash — how much less should we expect to see 
the immaterial blotted out of existence. Was 
the precious knowledge, so laboriously stored 
beneath the white dome of Paul's rugged fore- 
head, thus instantaneously annihilated ? Might 
not the swift current of his mental activity, acci- 



14 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

dentally diverted from its normal confines, have 
made for itself an underground course, where 
no eye, however sympathetic, could follow its se- 
cret windings? Might not his former projects 
in the realm of mechanics, and his prophecies 
that others had considered wild fancies, — might 
not these, when no longer fettered by limitations 
of matter and mechanical means, have finally 
materialized ? Might not his could he of yester- 
day have become the now is f Might not all 
possibilities he formerly dreamed have thrown 
aside their shadowy veils and become realized 
in the domain he now occupied, where thought 
could be continued uninterruptedly and unhin- 
dered ? Might not the occasional mutterings of 
his lips, although unintelligible to his hearers, 
be vague hints from a world unseen and un- 
known to those around him, yet none the less 
real to him ? So Dr. Clarkson sometimes 
thought, and so he once told the weeping wife 
when she confessed to him that all hope had left 
her. Was it not within reason to consider that 
last greeting : " Good-night, darling ! " a token 
that life still flickered in the paralyzed brain 
after the injur}^ and a prophecy that, under fa- 
vorable conditions, it might some time flash again 
and disclose the guest of the darkened chamber 
once more himself — once more Paul Prognosis, 
the mechanical expert — with a '' Good-morn- 
j ing ! " on his lips? 



PART II. 

A DAY'S RAMBLE WITH PROFESSOR 
PROSPER. 



CHAPTER III. 

PauVs Remarkable Introduction to the City 
of Tone. 

" Well, as my name 's Paul Prognosis, this is 
a pretty predicament for a respectable citizen 
of Boston to find himself in, tramping about the 
streets at day-dawn, and with nothing bnt a 
niohto:own on. And cold — it is cold! I must 
get into one of these houses by some means. I 
wonder where my house is ! And where am I ? — 
that 's a still more important question." 

He looked about him in search of a doorway 
that might serve as a haven. To his surprise, 
he found himself standing in a public square, 
that was wholly unfamiliar to him, surrounded 
by buildings vast and magnificent. Everywhere 
novelty, everywhere order, everywhere beauty ! 
Great structures on every side, aglow with the 
morning sunshine, apj^alled him by their ma- 



16 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

jestic proportions ; while unbroken vistas of 
wide avenues, opening up on every side, revealed 
the extent and grandeur of the city. With eyes 
of wonder he gazed upon colonnades, triumphal 
arches, monuments, towers, facades alive with 
sculptured decorations, and domes like cumulus 
clouds that wall the horizon. And in the cen- 
tre of the square rose a white column that 
pierced the very zenith. 

Such harmony and richness of color on every 
side — was mortal ever before permitted to gaze 
upon them ! such elegance of form, yet appar- 
ently so substantial — such graceful and dream- 
like proportions throughout all these vast archi- 
tectural piles ! 

" This is all very well, but I must find a place 
where I can dress and warm myself." 

Something warm touched his hand. He gave 
a spring to escape, but the warmth continued — 
it was the warmth of breath. He looked down, 
and gave a joyful cry. " Why, Smudge, old 
fellow ! You are indeed a friend in need. 
You '11 lead me home, won't you ? " 

But Smudge merely gazed up into his face, 
and made no movement to lead anywhere. 

" I believe. Smudge, that you are lost too. 
We are both lost. Where have we been, and 
where have we now come to ? Did I lead you, 
or did you lead me ? In any case we 're in 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 17 

trouble now together ; and, whatever further hap- 
pens, we must stand by one another. But this 
is certainly the most beautiful architectural dis- 
play I ever saw. If this is Boston, then I 'm no 
Boston ian. But where, then, can we have got to ? '* 

He involuntarily glanced down to see if the 
street was paved with gold. 

'No, this is not the new Jerusalem." 

At this moment his attention was attracted 
by multitudes of oddly dressed people, who 
thronged the sidewalks, even brushing against 
him. Strangely enough, he had not before no- 
ticed them ; and, still more strangely, his previ- 
ous obliviousness to their presence did not ex- 
cite his surprise. It was enough that they were 
there, and that some one would now be able to 
afford him shelter. 

"But are they men and boys, or men, women, 
and boys? And if the latter, which are the 
boys and which the women ? They all seem to 
be dressed very much alike. And how hand- 
some they all are ! This one must be a girl. 
Dear me, what a pretty face ! But who ever 
saw such queer clothes ? Yet they are as sim- 
ple and becoming as they are queer." 

These observations, renewed the unpleasant 
remembrance that he himself was in undress 
uniform, and he gathered his gown about him, 
crouched within it, and withdrew to an archway. 



18 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" I would n't mind exchanging this costume 
for one just like theirs. What must these peo- 
ple think of me ? I shall certainly be arrested 
if I don't succeed soon in finding my house, or 
somebody's house." >^ 

And he continued to creep along stealthily, \ 
vainly tr^^ing to hide himself in corners and i 
doorways, while the blaze of day grew steauily 
brighter, and the populace passed to and fro in 
increasing numbers. Very strangely, however, 
no one gave the slightest attention to him. In- 
deed, they did not seem to notice him any more 
than if he were an impalpable spirit. But he 
knew they would, and a terror began to possess 
him that he would be stoned and beaten. Stand- 
ing about in this way would never do. He be- 
gan to run — to run wildly. Smudge bounding 
beside him, up and down unending streets and 
avenues, until the breath was well-nigh out of 
his body, — until a brazen gateway suddenly 
opened before him without effort on his part, 
and he darted through it, then up a broad wind- 
ing staircase, through another open doorway, 
and found himself, with Smudge at his side, in 
the midst of a snug library, where the warmth 
of an open fire cheered his eyes, and where, face 
to face with him, sat an elderly man at a table 
littered with papers, occupied with inspecting 
/ what appeared to be a small coffee-mill. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Paul makes the Acquaintance of Professor 
Prosper. 

The gentleman whom he thus unceremoniously 
confronted did not notice him at first, and he 
tried to attract attention by speaking, but not a 
word could he utter. At length, he laid his 
hand on the gentleman's shoulder, and with 
great effort managed to find his voice, though it 
startled him by its harsh and far-away sound ; 
his words seemed to him to have that strained 
formality that one hears from a prisoner at the 
bar, addressing the judge. 

" I beg pardon, sir, for this intrusion, which 
must appear to you wholly unwarrantable, but I 
have lost my clothes, and do not know where I 
am. Can you please direct me, sir ? " 

The old gentleman looked up without any 
visible surprise — certainly without any appear- 
ance of annoyance. He made no reply, but 
seemed as if waiting to have the question re- 
peated. Paul again made an apology for his 
appearance, and again humbly asked for assist- 
ance in finding his way. 



20 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" Wliy, this is odd," said the gentleman at 
last, using a strange accent and a language that 
was not quite familiar to Paul, although he 
found that he could understand it readily enough, 
— " you are talking in Old English, and you 
speak as though you were well acquainted with 
it. I thought I was the only living man who 
could do that." Then he added, reflectively : 
" Poor fellow, he must have escaped from some 
madhouse. But he sj^eaks Old English remark- 
ably well — better, I admit it — much better 
than I can." 

There suddenly occurred to Paul the similar 
thought, that he must have entered a retreat of 
some kind, and that he was now in the presence 
of one of the patients. But any apprehensions 
he might otherwise have felt on this account 
'Were relieved when the gentleman calmly con- 
tinued ; — 

*' Yes, I will gladly help you all I can. You 
say you are lost. Tell me where your home is." 

" Where my home is ? That 's it," said Paul, 
brightening, — " where my home is ? Yes, yes." 
He felt his mind wandering a little, as every 
man's mind is apt to do when he is suddenly re- 
lieved from some great anxiety, and then con- 
fronted by the simplest possible question of 
every-day life. " I live on Cedar Avenue, num- 
ber 201. And if you will be good enough to 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 21 

send for a hack, I can go home at once without 
troubling you further.'* 

" Strange, very strange ! " repeated the old 
gentleman — " such perfect command both of 
Old English words and also of old phrase-forms! 
But, my dear sir, where is Cedar Avenue ? " 

" Why, don't you know ? It 's not far from 
the Common, and is nearly as old as the city." 

" I never heard of it, or of the Common you 
mention ; and it can't be in this city, for all our 
avenues are named systematically, and Cedar is 
a name that does n't belong to the system." 

This was somewhat bewildering. Kemem- 
brance of the great city through which he had 
recently prowled flashed across Paul's mind. 
It had not seemed like his native citv. " Is this 
not Boston, sir?" 

The gentleman again looked at him sharply, 
without replying ; and Paul, who once more be- 
gan to waver between doubts as to whether he 
had been transported or whether his questioner 
was demented, could only find words to add, iu 
a hopeless sort of way : " If I am not in Boston, 
please tell me where I am, and how I came here, 
and how I can get away." 

" Why, my dear sir, do you not know that you 
are in the good city of Tone ? Such is the fact. 
You say you live in Boston. Is it possible that 
you do not realize that the ancient city ot Bos- 



22 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

ton, like the ancient language you speak, is 
merely an historical fact of the remote past? 
One would think you were a relic strayed from 
a former age. But allow me to ask you a few 
questions, and see how far we can understand 
one another." 

" I will try to answer them, sir." 

"What year is this?" 

"■Why, eighteen hundred and ' seventy-two," 
answered Paul quickly, glad to be thus led off 
with an easy one. " You see I have not alto- 
gether lost my wits." 

" And who is the chief officer of state?" 

" Ulysses S. Grant." 

" Mention, if you please, some notable j^ersons 
now living in other parts of the world." 

" Well, in England there is Queen Victoria ; 
Emperor William in Germany, Alexander in 
Russia, and Victor Immanuel in Italy. In 
France — I have forgotten who is at the head of 
affairs in France just now, or in Spain either, 
for they turn so many political somersaults tliat 
it is difficult to keep track of affairs in those 
countries." 

"And you say that you live in Boston ? " 

" Yes," answered Paul, more at ease, and no 
longer annoyed at his questioner's reiteration, 
although now convinced that the other was hope- 
lessly beside himself. 



THE CRYSTAL BUTT OX. 23 

"And Boston is where?" 

"In the good old Bay State, Massachusetts," 
said Paul, smiling for the first time. 

" Marco ! " called out the old gentleman, — 
" Marco, I wish you would come here for a few 
moments." 

Through the curtains from an adjoining room 
soon advanced a handsome young fellow, about 
twenty years old, and an athlete in build, whose 
fine figure showed to advantage in his simple 
flowing garments. " This is my young friend 
Marco. And this is a stranger whose conversa- 
tion interests me more than I can tell. I wish, 
Marco, you would look up a few facts for me. 
Please examine the chronological tables of 
Blackmole's Ancient History, and see in what 
year of the Christian Era there was a President 
of the ancient Republic of Washington, named 
Grant, — was it not Grant you mentioned ? " 

" Yes, Ulysses S. Grant." 

" This stranger, Marco, who is no doubt a re- 
cent inmate of some asylum, but who appears 
quite harmless and is evidently a person of rare 
erudition, particularly interests me because he 
speaks with wonderful fluency and correctness 
the old English language, on wdiich, as you 
know, I pride myself. It is of course possible 
that a demented person, and especially one 
versed in ancient history, might fancy himself 



24 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

transported to the field of his former researches, 
and living in the days of Grant and Queen Vic- 
toria ; but what I now want to do is to see how 
far he is consistent in his imaginings." 

While the old gentleman was thus speaking, 
Paul watched the young man as he swiftly ran 
over the pages of the book before him. He also 
glanced at them ; but, to his astonishment, he 
was unable to decipher a word. They were evi- 
dently printed in some kind of shorthand, and the 
speed with which the searcher pursued his task 
seemed to indicate that the volume was either 
perfectly familiar to him, or he was able to 
catch its contents with lightning glances. 

" Well, Professor," said the young man, 
" there was a President named Grant, who was 
elected soon after the close of the First Civil 
War, — the war that resulted in the extinction 
of negro slavery. He was previously chief in 
command of the Government forces. That was 
in Anno Domini 1868. The same Grant was 
reelected to the presidency in 1872." 

" That must have been about the time when 
electricity was first introduced as an illumina- 
tor." 

" I see no mention of electric lighting until a 
few pages later." 

" And how about the enfranchisement of 
women ? " 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 25 

" That followed not many years afterward ; 
but it is well along in the next century that I 
find a woman President named." 

" Let us see, a moment," commented the Pro- 
fessor. " The present year being Anno Pacis 
1372, and adding this to Anno Domini 3500, 
the Year of Peace, we are now, according to the 
old style, in the year 487 2. ^_^ Stranger, your 
friend Grant was President just three thousand 
years ago. You 've had a good long nap, if 
you 've been asleep ever since then." 

Paul was now so thoroughly confused that he 
did not try to make any response, beyond a 
piteous sigh : " What am I to do ? " 

" Simj^ly make yourself perfectly comfortable, 
and consider my home yours until further notice. 
I will see that you are supplied with everything 
you need." 

*' Thank you, sir — thank you with all my 
heart ! And my companion here — my dog — 
can he also remain ? " 

" Certainly. Well, the most evident need 
you now have is clothing. Marco, take the 
necessary measures as to height, girth, and 
length of leg, and telephone to the East Central 
warehouse for full costumes — day and evening, 
and for both house and street." 

This having been done, the old gentleman 
continued : " By the way, I do not yet know 
your name." 



26 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" Paul Prognosis." 

" And mine is Prosper, Fellow of the Acad- 
emy of Sciences — people generally call me 
' Professor ' for short ; and my young friend's 
name is Marco Mortimer — a rather musical 
name, is n't it ? My daughter likes it so well 
that she is preparing to link hers to it. Madam 
Prosper-Mor tinier — is n't that a name to be re- 
membered ? Marco, you have no need to simulate 
nervous haste. Your blushes speak your mod- 
esty. But there 's the signal from the parcel- 
delivery tube. Will you please attend to it, 
Marco ? There 's nothing like present duty as 
a cure for confusion." 

In response to this request, the young man 
opened a circular bronze door in one of the 
alcoves, and into his arms swiftly dropped a 
number of compact parcels. 

" There," continued the Professor, " I think 
you '11 find the outfit complete ; and Marco will 
now conduct you to our spare chamber, and af- 
terwards see that you have breakfast. Try and 
eat a good hearty one, for I propose to give you 
a walk that will require your best energies. 
While you are employed upstairs, I will finish 
my correspondence." 



CHAPTER V. 

The Expected Advent of a Celestial Visitor. 

I After an absence of an hour, Paul returned 
to the library, attired in his new costume and 
closely followed by Smudge. The latter had a 
look of surprised wonder, but his master was 
now quite calm. 

" Mr. Prognosis," said the Professor, " as you 
are our guest, it is only proper for you to know 
that you may find my mind a little preoccupied 
by reason of the preparations it is my duty to 
make in view of the near approach of the great 
event." 

"You refer to your daughter's marriage, I 
presume." 

" Not at all. Why, is it possible ? Are n't 
you aware that we now stand on the threshold 
with expectant eyes, awaiting the advent of the 
greatest spectacle in recorded history ? " 

" I was not aware of it, sir." 

"It is to occur just three days from now. 
You very likely noticed, before you came in, 



28 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

that the streets were crowded with people, al- 
though the sun had only just risen. The whole 
world will be out-of-doors for the next three 
days, awaiting and discussing the expectexl event. 
As for myself, I have already completed nearly 
all my preparations for the observations I am to 
make. But, again, you know nothing of this ; 
you do not even know that I am an astronomer, 
and have direction of the telescopic and photo- 
graphic work at this station. I have a few er- 
rands still to attend to, but you can accompany 
me, and we can talk as we ga along." 

"Thank you, sir. Nothing could give me 
greater pleasure than the walk you propose. 
But the great event you allude to, may I ask 
what that is?" 

" Just think of it, Marco, — a fellow mortal who 
ajDparently has no knowledge of the fact that the 
Year of Peace 1372 marks an epoch above all 
epochs in scientific interest ! But no doubt, Mr. 
Prognosis, I shall find you all the more interest- 
ing as a companion for this very reason. You 
will prove an audience such as I probably could 
not find elsewhere on this globe. You can't help 
being interested in this most remarkable occur- 
rence, and especially so if your mind has any sci- 
entific bent. How is that ? " 

" I am proud to say that I have made science 
the special study of my life — that is, the science 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 29 

of mechanics mainly ; but no one can search 
deeply and understand ingiy into mechanics or 
any one branch of that study, without acquiring 
some general knowledge of science and a taste 
for science generally." 

" Very true. And in what branch of mechan- 
ics were you mainly interested ? " 

" In engineering and motive forces. I was 
among the first to foresee the future possibilities 
of electricity, and I have received several patents 
for inventions in that line, which I hope may 
some time prove valuable to the world as well as 
to me." 

" Indeed, that is interesting. But patents, 
I must tell you, are among those many things 
of the remote past that found no place in the 
world's economy after the Experimental Age 
was gone. However, we will talk of that some 
other time. To-day, let us forget that there ever 
was a yesterday. We will simply look at things 
as they present themselves to our eyes. We will 
calmly accept the world as we find it, — I think 
you will be quite willing to, — and calmly pre- 
pare our minds for the great coming." 

" But this great coming ; what is it ? " 

" It is a brief call that will be paid our planet 
by the huge comet Veda, — she never appeared 
in your Christian Era, — which will pass in re- 
view before our very doors." 



30 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" Is the end of the world indeed so near at 
hand ? " cried Paul. 

" There is no need of anxiety on that score. 
For centuries past our astronomers have been 
engaged in their calculations, which are now 
completed, and with an accuracy that is beyond 
all question. There can be no collision, there 
can be no disastrous results. The world has not 
been slowly bailded to its present degree of per- 
fection to be suddenly demolished. Next Sun- 
day morning, shortly before sunrise, the comet 
will cross our heavens, and the only fear is that 
she will approach so near that we shall be unable 
to gaze upon her." 

" But the world's tides ! The proximity of 
such vast masses of matter cannot but result in 
causing another Noah's deluge ! " 

" Our best scientists think it was this same 
comet Yeda that caused the deluge of which you 
speak ; but the world must then have been en- 
veloped in the tail, which is now deflected from 
the direct line of its approach ; and, in the slight 
disturbance of all the usual conditions of the so- 
lar system, the power of attraction will be ex- 
actly compensated, and our tides will scarcely 
record the event. Moreover, the passage will be 
brief, and effects of light and heat will be largely 
neutralized by our enveloping atmosphere. I 
can assure you, Mr. Prognosis, that you need 
not fear danger of any kind." 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 31 

" Of course it would be useless to do so. If 
the world were to be blotted out of existence in 
the twinkling of an eye " — 

" But I have assured you that it is n't going 
to be ! Neio^hbor Mars and ourselves acrree on 
this point." 

For some reason the astoundins: intellio-ence 
that had just been communicated to Paul did 
not affect him as strongly as might have been 
expected. He had already observed and heard 
so many strange things during the hour just 
passed, that he was becoming quite prepared and 
even expectant to hear more ; and he had now 
fully recovered from his preconception that the 
Professor was insane. By some means, which 
his mind could not yet compass, and he no 
longer made any attempt to do so, he found him- 
self amid scenes and circumstances that were 
wholly new to him ; but his training and experi- 
ence fitted him to appreciate their supreme in- 
terest, and he lent himself unreservedly to the 
pleasant task of observing everything about 
him. In response to the Professor's last remark, 
he merely asked: "You speak of 'neighbor 
Mars ' — is it positively known that Mars is in- 
habited by human beings?" 

" Inhabited ? Why, certainly. We have had 
communication with its people for centuries 
past, and we already know all that can be com- 



32 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

mnnicated by signals. We know their customs, 
and several discoveries of great value were com- 
municated to us by tlieir scientists. We know 
their history, whicli dates back much further than 
our own so far as we possess records. They are 
much more advanced than we are, and have 
greater wisdom. They are our teachers in many 
things. It was partly by means of the lessons 
they taught us that we were able to reorganize 
our world on better princij)les, and make it what 
it now is — a pleasure-house instead of the work- 
house it was in the dark days of which you have 
been speaking. AVhy, my dear friend, you have 
only to look at my scientific journals here, or 
this, my morning newspaper, to see how invalu- 
able we find our acquaintance with that elder 
and more comfortable planet, wdiere men grow 
larger, and live longer, and have a firmer grasp 
of ideas than we have. Just read this para- 
graph, for instance." 

" But I cannot read this kind of print." 
" What ? Oh ! of course not. That 's founded 
on a system wholly unknown in your time, but 
now developed to a degree of perfection that 
cannot but command j^our admiration. There 
are no letters, you will observe, as in the clumsy 
method by wdiich your Old English was written, 
but we employ these simple symbols, every one 
of which flashes a well-rounded idea, so that we 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 33 

are now able to present one of the largest histo- 
ries of your day in a few-score pages." 

" But is n't it difacult to learn ? Can your 
children learn it ? " 

" Certainly. They are more skillfully taught 
than in your day, but they study no harder, and 
they are able to read at about the same age. 
And when they are once masters of the art, they 
are able to absorb the complete library of the 
world's knowledge, which century by century 
has increased in volume, instead of painfully 
grasping a small department of knowledge, as 
even your most highly cultivated men were con- 
tent to do. How many professors of your ac- 
quaintance, who were wise in history or the lan- 
guages, were also acquainted with the primary 
chapters of mechanics ? " 

''Very few, I must confess." 
" Well, now, when all men are educated, they 
are also sufficiently acquainted with the several 
leading branches of human knowledge, so that 
the interests of our people are identical and 
mutual. And please bear in mind also, that we 
are no longer compelled to waste time in learn- 
ing what you knew as foreign languages. The 
language you now hear me speak is the common 
language that all men speak — that is, all men 
on this planet. The Martian language is dif- 
ferent, and thus far only a few of our professors 



34 THE CRYHTAL BUTTON. 

have learned it. I do not know it myself. That 
is the only foreign language we come in contact 
with nowadays. But let me warn you that many 
people whom we shall meet to-day will set down 
your speech as foreign. I think they will under- 
stand you, but of course not as readily as I do, 
for I have specially studied your ancient tongue. 
Whoever you may be, and whatever your other 
accomplishments may prove, you will be a val- 
uable as well as welcome guest by reason of the 
many hints you can no doubt give me in my 
studies in that line." 

" I am gladly at your service, Professor." 
" Thank you. And now, if you are ready, we 
will go and do our errands, and meanwhile view 
the city." 



CHAPTER VI. 

Three Thousand Years. 

" Three thousand years ! " said Professor 
Prosper absently, as they passed along the street. 

" Three thousand years ! " echoed Paul ; " and 
yet, by some strange fortune, — whether good or 
evil I hardly yet know, — I find myself permitted 
still to live and breathe and to gaze at the pleas- 
ant face of the earth. Three thousand years! 
and yet the sun still shines the same, and the 
^ fleecy cloud-ships overhead sail just as calmly, 
and the wind gives me the same brusque greet- 
ing as in the Decembers of old." 

"- Yes," responded the Professor ; " and, as 
you will learn later, happy childhood plays just 
the same in mimicry of maturer life ; there still 
reigns the golden age of love-making, accompa- 
nied by buoyant hope and castle-building ; still 
there come the soberer joys and responsibilities 
of middle life ; and still each man and woman 
is followed step by step by the shadow of old 
age and death. So rolls the world forever 
through its contrasting seasons. But life's road 



/ 



36 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

now is unquestionably much smoother and more 
comfortable for all of us than it was in your tur- 
bulent age of experiment and unrest." 

'' That is what I am j^articularly interested to 
know about. In what respects are you now more 
at ease ? And does this ease extend to all 
classes ? And are all classes happier in conse- 
quence ? " 

*' I can answer Yes to your last two ques- 
tions. Details you must see for yourself. In a 
general way, however, you will no doubt find the 
following points suggestive of some of the condi- 
tions you may expect to find. Money-getting is 
no longer the chief goal of effort, and hence 
many unworthy ambitions have been stifled. 
Places of power and trust are now filled by 
strong and trustworthy men ; the path to all 
high places is such that none others can attain 
them. We no longer have taskmasters, for the 
simple reason that we no longer have slaves. 
There is abundance in the way of the world's 
goods for all, and not so much for any one class 
as to make them uncomfortable. AVe have abol- 
ished classes, i We have less failures and disap- 
pointments in our ambitions because the youth- 
ful period of experimenting and scheming is 
past, and we now understand the forces and 
materials that are at our disposal, and can thus 
work toward any given end with reasonable as- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 37 

surance of success. History clearly teaches that, 
in your time, many of your most intelligent and 
earnest workers failed utterly so far as visible 
results were concerned. Some of the men of 
your time whose names are now famous were 
scarcely known to you, except perhaps as vague 
theorizers and idealists. From our present point 
of view we are able to judge the value of their 
theories, as worked out by later specialists, and 
justly award them a place among the great ones 
of the earth who have opened up new avenues of 
material or intellectual value." 

"I can see how that might be so. We did 
the same by generations that preceded us." 

" Yes, but in a less degree, because you lived 
before the era of truth, justice, and peace, while 
society was in a ferment, while law was by no 
means synonymous with justice ; while worldly 
advantage, largely based on a money valuation, 
was the gauge of success if not of merit ; and 
while the bread-and-butter question overtopped 
all others." 

" Have you no bread-and-butter question now 
in the world ? " 

" None of which any private citizen is bound 
to take any thought. The world produces am- 
ple supplies so long as waste, war, idleness, ig- 
norance, and miserliness are not allowed to put 
their greedy hands in the raeal-sack. Under 



38 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

our reign of truth, justice, and peace those buz- 
zards of famine no longer breed. You see, Mr. 
Prognosis, science, which merely means know- 
ing .^ has now taken the place of experimenting, 
which means trying to know., and consequently 
implies ignorance. You lived in the Experi- 
mental Age, whereby the world was taught 
many valuable lessons ; but it was a world of 
hardships — how hard you did not then realize, 
or universal anarchy would have put to the 
test the great question of all, which you did lit- 
tle to settle. Can you now guess what that 
question was ? " 

" Human rights ? " 

'* Exactly. You claimed to be Christians, 
and your nations claimed to be Christian na- 
tions, but — excuse me — your customs and your 
laws wrought more injustice between man and 
man than any heathen nations that had pre- 
ceded you, simply because your power was vastly 
greater. You ruled by force : to-day the world 
is ruled by truth ; and, under the sway of this 
benign judge, all things have blossomed and 
fruited in a manner you never dreamed of. All 
things human have now lost their sting, only ex- 
cepting sickness and death; and sickness has 
been very largely reduced, while death has been 
deferred unto the day when most men, being- 
feeble and weary, have loosened most of the 
ties that make life a boon." 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 39 

For a few minutes the two men walked on 
without speaking. Paul first broke the silence. 
" Tell me, sir, do you perceive any evidences 
that nature itself is growing old ? Has the sun 
perceptibly lost volume and power by radia- 
tion?" 

" That, Mr. Prognosis, is a question you can 
better decide, because you have means of com- 
parison. What say you? Do you detect any 
paling of its beneficent fires ? " 

" I do not find it apparent to the senses. It 
seems to me as bright as ever, and its rays seem 
as warm on my cheek." 

" Of course," added the Professor, " we know 
that, within three thousand years past, there 
must have been some decrease of light and heat 
by reason of radiation, some decrease of volume 
from concentration, some increase of mass from 
meteoric accretions, and consequently some short- 
ening of all the planetary distances. But these 
changes are so slight that only our most delicate 
instruments record them. There has also been 
a slight lengthening of our days and nights, so 
that we can now calculate the time when the 
twenty-ninth day of February will no longer be 
needed to piece out the uneven years. These 
few changes have occurred, as your scientists 
were able to predict, and the same movements 
will forever continue until the sun finallv loses 



40 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

its light altogether and nature dies. There have 
been measurable changes in the last three thou- 
sand years ; but, as you have said, none of them 
are perceptible to the senses." 

" I can hardly restrain myself, sir, from ask- 
ing you many more questions regarding j)hysi- 
cal science, but this is not the time or place for 
that. Some other time, if you will allow me, I 
shall not fail to tax your patience to the ut- 
most," 

"You need not fear of wearying me by so 
doing. Like you, I am an enthusiast on sucli 
subjects*" 



CHAPTER VII. 

The Tower of Peace and Good - Will, 

" What a magnificent square ! " said Paul, as 
they now entered the same one he remembered 
crossing in the morning, and he again looked up 
the eio'ht radiatino^ avenues, between which and 
fronting upon the square stood various build- 
ings of surprising magnitude and architectural 
beauty, far surpassing anything he had ever 
dreamed of. In the centre of the square was 
a monumental column, and in response to his 
questioning look, as he viewed its vast propor- 
tions and exquisite variety and harmony of dec- 
oration, his companion said : " Yes, this is now 
counted as one of the wonders of the world, and 
it is unsurpassed in beauty by any similar struc- 
ture. It is called the Tower of Peace and Good- 
will, and was built to commemorate the accom- 
plishment of universal peace among the nations. 
Its design, as you will perceive upon studying 
it, is singularly appropriate in every detail to 
the symbolism which the great artist-architect 
had in mind. The base is a grand triumphal 



42 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

arch, which, even without the lofty column that 
surmounts it, would be an imposing object. 
Grouped around this base are bronze figures of 
horsemen confronting each other in deadly strife, 
while between them, and forcibly parting them, 
stand armed giants. This is intended to sym- 
bolize the power of the new civilization to con- 
trol the spirits of hatred, that would otherwise 
inspire dissension, strife, warfare." 

"I understand." ' 

" On the lower portion of the outer wall, 
above the plinth, you will observe a series of 
bronze tablets in bas-relief. These include his- 
torical representations of all modes of warfare 
practiced by the ancients, and clearly show its 
savage character and terrible destructiveness. 
Above those is a contrasting series of tablets 
illustrating the conquests and glories of peace ; 
and over the grand arch is the rising sun, typi- 
fying the dawn of peace. Rejoicing in its rays, 
on either side, are great armies who no longer 
display implements of bloodshed, but banners 
bearing emblems and mottoes of good-will. And 
see ! over all, and in letters that can be read by 
all — by even you, for they are the letters in 
which your Old English was written, is in- 
scribed the glorious phrase : — 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 43 

" In your day you often repeated that same 
phrase, but it then had no meaning. Your 
choirs sang it, but the words were drowned by 
the trample of armies that then made the world 
an armed camp. Was it not so ? " 

" I confess it." 

" The inscriptions you see on panels let into 
the upper portion of the wall are words of wis- 
dom spoken by men of all the ages who were in 
any way instrumental in ushering in the reign 
of peace, and whose names follow the texts. 
Among them you will recognize that of Wash- 
ington, who helped give a death-blow to kingly 
usurpation, and Lincoln, who aimed a similar 
blow at one of the primitive forms of human 
slavery. Those of the great social reformers, 
that then follow, are of course not known to 
you. And now, if you please, we will ascend 
the shaft." 

Thus speaking, they passed through the main 
arch, and entered an inner door leading to a 
broad, winding passage, having no steps, by 
which they easily passed to the top of the grand 
Arch of Triumph and stood among the art-won- 
ders of the level summit. 

"Now," said the Professor, "let us take thins:s 
ni order, and we shall soon obtain a general im- 
pression of this masterpiece, although a score of 
visits may be made without exhausting interest 



r 

44 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

in its countless details. Here, at the four cor- 
ners, you see bronze groups of domestic animals, 
some standing' and some reclining in peaceful 
attitudes under graceful foliage ; and directly 
over the four arches are colossal statues of four 
noted men, — I presume you would have called 
them social reformers, — who would be but names 
to you if I should mention them now, but you 
will know and honor them later." 

" The labor question — is it yet settled ? " 

" Oh, centuries ago. There could be no 
thought of peace until that problem was solved." 

" And was it peacefully solved ? " 

"Yes and no. It was the momentous ques- 
tion in your day. You must remember the con- 
tinual strife that grew out of it. Like all great 
issues, it finally forced itself to the front, chal- 
lenged attention, and compelled action from the 
best minds, and then gradually wrought out its 
own salvation as society became organized on a 
wiser and truer basis. Honesty and justice 
were the only elements lacking in your day for 
its peaceful solution. As soon as these forces 
took the field, the field was won." 

" Above us still rises the tower." 

" Yes, and all other parts of the structure are 
but accessories to this. You will see that the 
shaft of the column is surrounded by a spiral 
gallery, which winds about it from base to sum- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 45 

mitv This gallery is supported by a continu- 
ous colonnade ; and this, together with a beau- 
tiful balustrade below, a series of arches spring- 
ing from the columns, and a belt of exquisite 
tracery above, forms a shell to the central shaft 
and gives the outline of the tower as seen from 
a distance. Within this ascending gallery, on 
the side next the shaft, is the passageway ; and 
on the outside, next the colonnade, is a grand 
procession of marble figures, all carrying offer- 
ings to lay at the feet of Peace, who sits en- 
throned on the summit. Here are herdsmen 
with cattle, shepherds with flocks, ploughmen 
with teams, wagons loaded with the products of 
the field, the locomotive driver, fishermen with 
their nets, and sailors with the tiller in hand. 
Here are artisans with emblems of their calling, 
scientists with their inventions, authors with 
their books, orators, actors, painters, sculptors, 
architects, musicians, — every phase of effort is 
represented that in any way contributes to the 
necessities, comforts, or pleasures of life. Each 
fi^gure in this vast collection is the work of 
some noted artist, and it has been an object of 
the highest ambition on the part of our sculp- 
tors to secure a place for their works in this col- 
lection. If you like, you can easily glance at 
all by entering this slowly moving elevator ; or 
are you likely to be fatigued by the trip ? " 



46 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" Even if I were, I should not know it, for 
my entire attention is absorbed in wonder and 
admiration for these marvelous works about 
me." 

Stepping ujjon the moving platform, they 
then leisurely surveyed the vast procession that 
seemed moving with them to the summit, where, 
at a windy elevation that was at first somewhat 
trying to his nerves, Paul grasped the railing 
that surrounded the throne of Peace, and looked 
down upon the outspread city. 

" Well, here we are," said the Professor, again 
assuming the office of guide. " Here Peace 
reigns triumphant, upheld, as you see, on a hem- 
isphere representing the earth, with her right 
hand suj)porting a staff topped by a crystal 
globe, the emblem of Truth, and her left hand 
resting upon a disc-like ring, signifying Unity, 
around whose edges are inscribed the names of 
all the nations that subscribed to the Act of 
Universal Peace. Around her stand figures rep- 
resenting Justice, Order, Industry, and Plenty ; 
and, emerging from the winding gallery and 
surrounding the throne, are figures of children, 
bearing their offerings of flowers and fruit, who 
form the advance guard of the long procession 
we have followed from below." 

" Professor, the display of beautiful objects 
gracing this monument fills me with wonder that 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 47 

I will not try to express. Why, they are scat- 
tered with a lavishness that one expects to find 
only iiidreamland. I have a half-feeling as if 
I might ^ow be treading the summit of an air- 
castle, and as if a sudden stream of moonlidit 
might awaken me to the dim realities of nidit. 
But if that be so, then let me dream on forever, 
for the world in which I have been accustomed 
to live boasts no such spectacles as this." 



CHAPTER VIII. 

A Bird^ s-Eye Viev) of the City, 

" Mr. Prognosis, before descending to the 
earth, where you will find we are quite as prac- 
tical in most matters, if not as prosaic, as the 
most matter-of-fact mind of the nineteenth cen- 
tury could desire, I hope you will try and take 
in a general view of the grand panorama of the 
city and its suburbs that now lies spread before 
you. Your eyes will soon become accustomed to 
the distances." 

" But I feel too giddy to look down." 
" Let us then look afar at first. There to 
the east glitters the bay ; and here you can fol- 
low the windings of the rivers that pour into it, 
each dotted with sailless craft and crossed by a 
network of bridges, especially the great river to 
the west. The most famous of the bridges, 
known as ' The Old Bridge,' is very clearly visi- 
ble directly to the north. It belongs to the 
same period as this Peace Tower ; and, like it, 
contains a display of statuary that is certain to 
give you j^leasurable surprise. Just across it 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 49 

you see our two far-famed Pyramids — please 
don't question about them now, for you shall 
examine them later. To the northwest the 
most prominent object is Mount Energy, with 
its accompaniment of the Solar Steam- Works ; 
and to the north you can see the chief scene of 
my labors. Meridian Observatory. I know that 
you bristle with questions, but please be a little 
patient, and you shall have an opportunity to 
inspect all these wonder works in detail. In the 
valley below us, which blazes as if by the reflec- 
tion of a lake in noon sunshine, is our far-famed 
Sun Palace " — 

" Excuse me, but I must interrupt with jast 
one question ! These cloud shadows that now 
and then pass us, are they clouds, or huge birds, 
or balloons of some kind ? '* 

" They are air-ships. You shall inspect them 
too, and make an experimental voyage in one, 
if you like. But let us first complete our bird's- 
eye view. I think now that you will be able to 
look below without discomfort, and perhaps you 
will prefer to study the nearer aspect of the 
city without comments from me." 

Paul gazed down, and gradually absorbed the 
more prominent features of the animated pic- 
ture at his feet. He saw that the eight avenues 
radiating from the Peace Square were all ex- 
tremely wide ; and he now noticed that, extend- 



50 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

ing along the centre of each, were open archways 
revealing a subway, in which he could see lines 
of moving railway cars. At the crossings, the 
underground streets were covered by the bridge- 
like structure which evidently composed the sur- 
face avenue through its entire length. Each 
avenue was two-storied. 

" What," asked Paul, " is the purpose of the 
tall masts that I see scattered so thickly through 
the city? It cannot be that you permit tele- 
graph and other wires to be strung overhead ? " 

" Certainly not ! The subway gives ample 
and safe accommodation for all wires and pipes. 
These masts are simply supports for electric suns 
by which we convert darkness into day, so that 
midnight and noon are scarcely to be distin- 
guished in Tone. I believe, in your time, that 
you were just beginning to discover the useful- 
ness of electricity as an illuminator and motive 
force." 

" Yes, but we found it expensive to produce, 
impossible to store, and, at times, as unmanage- 
able as a young lion." 

" We have now domesticated it. It took 
many centuries to gain a complete knowledge of 
its laws, but we now look upon these as simple 
enough, and we handle it with perfect safety. 
As to expense, we catch it direct from the sun's 
rays and from the winds and waves. You will 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 51 

easily comprehend the details when you visit 
Mount Energy, that monster pile to the north- 
west with a cap of white, like a snow-covered 
hill." 

" Your buildings — how few, yet how vast 
they are ! " 

" Yes ; each covers an entire square or block." 
" And, viewed from this point, each seems 
to taper like a pyramid." 

" That is the form of construction we have 
adopted as most convenient." 

" But it would seem to be wasteful of space." 
" Not when you consider that the centre areas 
are now entirely covered, excepting the necessary 
air and light shafts. We simply transfer the 
space you practically wasted as areas, to the 
facades to our buildings, thereby affording a 
much larger surface for the play of air and di- 
rect sunlight, although the structures themselves 
are two, three, and four times as high as you 
thought it safe to pile them. At the same time, 
the streets are likewise left open to sunshine and 
air. You will readily understand that, with 
vertical buildings of such height as these, our 
streets would otherwise be converted into sunless 
alleyways. Convenience and safety of entrance 
are also secured b}'' this method of construc- 
tion ; and, by allowing a little strip of garden 
along the successive terraces, we convert each 



52 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

building in summer time into a green and blos- 
soming hill. But this is one of the subjects 
that 3^ou will better understand when you come 
to examine the two great protot3q3es of this 
class of buildings, which I pointed out to you 
as the 'Pyramids.' They were the happy 
thought of a master-architect who lived many 
centuries ago, and who designed them with 
special reference to the needs of mechanics and 
others having small incomes. Land in the 
cities had become so valuable that small houses 
were no longer practicable, even for the com- 
paratively wealth}^ ; and tenement houses be- 
came dangerously tall, and unhealthily sunless 
and ill-ventilated. The change in construction 
he advocated was so radical that it met with 
much ridicule, until submitted to practical test 
on a grand scale in the ' Pyramids ; ' but the re- 
sult of that test was strikingly successful in 
every respect, and proved conclusively that the 
designer's claim of maximum comfort and health 
combined with minimum expense for rent and 
maintenance was as firmly founded as his broad- 
based structures. Although each one, in its ac- 
commodations, represented a good-sized city, 
both were speedily filled with occupants, and 
leases have been greatly valued ever since." 

" The expense of building must have been 
vast." 



THE CRYSTAL BUTT OX. 53 

" Yes, the first expense was ; but when you 
remember that they have now stood for many 
centuries, and are still in perfectly good condi- 
tion to serve for as many centuries more, you will 
understand that this investment by the munici- 
pality has proved highly advantageous. We 
learned by your experience that it does n't pay 
to build, merely to tear down and build again. 
The sjiirit of iconoclasm has been well-nigh 
rooted out. We build to stand — our legal, as 
well as our stone-and-mortar structures." 

" In spite of this desirable solidity of which 
you speak, I find a suggestion of singular light- 
ness and cheerfulness in your architecture." 

" Yes ; and you will find that this is largely 
produced by the extensive use of glass and of 
gilded and silvered ornaments. We seek the 
free distribution of sunlight in every possible 
manner, and whatever can admit or reflect 
sunshine is gladly introduced in our buildings. 
The vines and shrubbery and bay-windows on 
the terraces also help to break the long cor- 
nice lines, and give lightness in effect as well 
as variety." 

*' I shall now," said Paul, " be particularly 
interested in examining your underground 
world and the construction of those two-story 
streets ; for I was formerly employed by a rail- 
way company, and the question of safe passage 



54 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

through thickly populated districts was always a 
perplexing one." 

" Let us then return to the lower world. 
You see, here we have another moving platform 
that will speedily transfer us to the street with- 
out any exertion on our part. See, the long 
procession of statues seems to clamber behind 
us as we make our circling descent ; and here 
we are again, safely deposited in the public 
square." 



s 



CHAPTER IX. 

The Underground Railway, 

"As you see," continued Professor Prosper, 
" we now stand upon the upper street, or what 
we call the ' highway,' which is reserved for 
pedestrians and pleasure vehicles." 

" But I see no horses." 

" Oh no, we do not allow the use of horses in 
our cities. With the continued increase of traf- 
fic, it was found that they were a leading source 
of dust, filth, and unpleasant odors, and they 
also impeded pedestrian travel unnecessarily. 
At the same time our needs gave rise to a great 
variety of wheeled vehicles propelled by electric- 
ity or compressed air. You have evidently not 
noticed that, beyond the next row of elms, is a 
roadway filled with electric vehicles, continually 
passing. These make no dust, no sound, are 
easily guided, and, under favorable conditions, 
their speed far exceeds that of the fleetest horse. 
In all our cities, horses have been relegated to 
the training-school and the arena." 

" But of course they are still used in the coun- 
try." 



56 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" For pleasure purposes, yes ; but not for 
mere motive power, for they would be too ex- 
pensive. Electricity and compressed air do all 
our drudgery." 

" You continue to amaze me." 

" I understand that, yet you must prepare to 
be amazed in many other particulars far more 
important than this. But, as I began to say, 
this ' highway ' is, in fact, a scaffolding, built 
sometimes of stone, but more often, during late 
years, of a peculiar preparation of aluminium, 
which is now the commonest of all metals, and 
particularly adapted for purposes of construc- 
tion, owing to its lightness, strength, and free- 
dom from injury by oxidation. It is also beau- 
tiful ; do you not think so ? " 

" The iron that we used must certainly give it 
the palm on that score." 

" We of course use aluminium for all our 
common household utensils," 

" But how do you obtain it ? " 

"From clay, by the simjDlest possible mode 
of reduction. It is one of the mysteries why 
you failed to discover it." 

" It was not because we did n't strain every 
faculty." 

" No ; you strained too much. You looked 
too far. You held the secret in the hand, and 
forgot to open the hand." 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 57 

" Very likely," sighed Paul. " The micro- 
scope has no doubt given the world more useful 
hints than the telescope." 

" Well, on this ' highway,' as you will notice, 
are the main entrances to dwellings, hotels, and 
comaiercial warehouses, while below are other 
entrances where all merchandise and bulky ar- 
ticles are received direct from the City Service 
freight-cars. In the middle of the subway are 
the transit lines for passengers, separated by 
broad passages from the freight tracks, and with 
power elevators that give easy access to the 
* highway.' But let us take a trial trip, and 
you will then see for yourself." 
~~^ Paul took one parting glance about him be- 
fore they descended, fascinated by the bright 
faces of the great throngs of people who passed 
him. 

" You apparently have no beggars in your 
streets," he said, half questioningly. 

" I should hope not. Oh no, beggary is one 
of the many things of the remote past. It was 
merely a result of certain unhealthy conditions, 
including waste, extravagance, avariciousness, 
crime, and disease, which flourished in your 
time, and fruited and dropped their natural 
seed." 

" But you cannot have abolished crime by 
leo'al enactments." 



58 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" No ; but we have so reduced, where we have 
not entirely removed, the chief inducements to 
crime, including poverty, excess of wealth, in- 
justice, and ambition for undeserved power, 
inevitably leading to tyranny, that it is now 
infrequent. While I was recently engaged in 
consulting newspaper files dating from the nine- 
teenth century, I was painfully struck by the 
fact that nearly all the news most prominently 
heralded related to crimes, accidents, and wars or 
rumors of war. Although the world is now much 
more densely populated, and the means of com- 
munication nearly instantaneous, our daily news- 
papers seldom make mention of crimes or acci- 
dents — simply because they seldom occur ; and 
of course we no longer have our nerves excited, 
pleasurably or otherwise, by news of war or re- 
bellion, as those are conditions quite impossible 
under the present regime. In brief, Mr. Prog- 
nosis, the news in your day was mainly detective 
news, while ours nearly all relates to social life, 
science, art and amusements." 

While thus speaking, they had descended the 
elevator to a broad stone platform skirting the 
main track. There were four pairs of rails in 
the central portion of the subway ; and on the 
track next the platform where Paul was stand- 
ing, he noticed a car at rest, into which persons 
were entering by side doors and taking seats. 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTOX. 59 

Just at this moment a long train, drawn by 
some invisible force, flew rapidly by him, on 
one of the inner tracks, and to its side was at- 
tached a small car like that which stood before 
him, which was speeding forward on the same 
near track. He watched attentively, expecting 
to see the two small cars collide. But, just in 
the nick of time, the small moving car was cast 
off and came to a standstill, while the other 
small car was caught up by the train, which 
never slackened its tremendous speed, and 
whirled out of sight. 

"Beautiful!" cried Paul. "I don't at all 
understand how it is done so easily, but I see 
that it is done, and I see that you have settled 
the question of rapid transit without reference 
to the number of intermediate stations." 

" Exactly so ! The small car, as you have 
observed, acts as a tender, allowing passengers 
to join the main train and then take their seats 
in calmness and comfort while it is still run- 
ning at full speed." 

" It is of course dropped in the same man- 
ner." 

" Yes, it works both ways. Each tender is 
carried to the next station on the line, and then 
successively all along the circuit." 

" But there must be cross-lines — bow are col- 
lisions prevented ? " 



60 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" Easily enoiigli ! All the lines in the city 
are run under one general management, and all 
precisely on time. In fact, the several trains 
act like several parts of one vast machine, and 
the movements of all are as accurately timed as 
the beats of a clock, which is perfectly practica- 
ble under this system." 

" But how is it that the people can safely 
change places while the cars are in such rapid 
motion, and especially the aged and infirm?" 

'' There is little motion, as you will soon see, 
for the road-beds as well as the cars are per- 
fectly constructed. There is no difficulty about 
that. But see for yourself. Here is a tender 
awaitins: ns. And here comes the train — and 
here we are aboard the train — and the tender 
dropped, and another at our side ! Did you 
ever see anything easier than that ? " 

" Never ! And now — if you please. Profes- 
sor, I would like to know something about this 
new motive force of which you have spoken. I 
presume it is used on these trains, is it not?" 

" Yes. Well, it is based on a very simple 
but peculiar application of compressed air. I 
should need diagrams to fully explain it. But 
I can now say that this compressed air is con- 
veyed to all parts of the city by pipes, the 
source of supply being a short distance out of 
town. To-morrow, if you like, with Marco as a 



TEE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 61 

guide, you can visit the central works ; and, if I 
am not mistaken, you will see something worth 
your while." 

"I have no doubt of it. The only fear I 
have is, that you may show me so many wonders 
that I shall lose my wits. You see, a nineteenth 
century brain has to expand itself considerably 
to house the realities of your present." 

"True enough. Yet you will find that we 
do all things in such an orderly manner that we 
also do them easily as well as rapidly ; and you 
will soon learn to do the same. Life is much 
easier now than with you. You, as I under- 
stand it, were always in a driving hurry, and 
rather proud of the fact than otherwise. When 
any one nowadays is seen in a hurry, we know 
that he is either correcting an error, or that 
he lacks order and system in his plans. You 
wasted time, just as you wasted everything else. 
We value time as our first of all boons — it is 
our life — and we count every day another op- 
portunity freighted with duties that we take 
pleasure in performing." 

"But doesn't this make life a rather dull 
treadmill ? " 

"Not at all, because we include all possible 
pleasures that are not harmful in any way, as 
part of the duties of life. Dull treadmill, in- 
deed ! And that phrase in the mouth of a nine- 



62 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

teenth century man ! You must excuse me for 
smiling, please. Why, life nowadays is one 
round of pleasures.'' 

" But how about your work? Does anybody 
find work a pleasure ? " 

" Of course. Why not ? The difference be- 
tween work and play is slighter than you think. 
Action is the source of all enjoyment. Work is 
forced action, excessive action, or action to which 
one's powers are not adapted. Play is willing 
action in ways that are best adapted to one's 
powers. We choose our workers and set them 
to work on this principle. Whatever a man can 
really do well, he can usually do easily, and he 
usually likes to do it. If he does n't, then we 
hold out attractions in the way of higher ambi- 
tions, that stitnulate him by the drawing process 
more effectually than any whiplash of want or 
fear could possibly push him." 

" Well, I certainly approve the theory and the 
principle, but I should n't think it would work 
in practical life." 

" I can only say that, under proper guidance 
and training through many generations, it has 
come to w^ork very satisfactorily. If founded on 
truth, it must work, Mr. Prognosis, just as soon 
as we give it a full opportunity to work. A cor- 
rect theory is merely an unrealized truth. Is n't 
that so?" 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 63 

" I suppose SO ; but really, Professor, your 
remarks suggest to my mind so many problems, 
and from such a novel point of view, that I don't 
feel fully competent to pass verdict on all of 
them. I simply accept your statement that work 
can be converted into play without the happy 
victim knowing or caring whether it 's one or the 
other. The statement interests me, and there- 
fore pleases me." 

"And you thereby illustrate the very point of 
my argument. You thereby convert the hard 
work of investigation into a recreation. To use 
an expression from your own day, you therefore 
' change your stage-coach into a gentleman's 
four-in-hand.' " 

" I gladly plead guilty." 

" And I, as gladly, suspend sentence." 

" May it please the judge to listen to another 
inquiry ? " 

" Certainly." 

" Do you use reciprocating engines for your 
condensed air ? " 

" No. The air-wheel is by far preferable. I 
am aware of the efforts of inventors in your day 
to produce a useful steam-engine on the rotary 
plan, and their lack of success ; but with com- 
pressed air there is much less difSculty. We 
have no heat to contend with ; and soft leather 
packing, so arranged that it is made tight by 



64 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

pressure, reduces the friction to a minimum. 
The present engine is exceedingly simple. I will 
show you plans that I have at home." 

" But are these tender - cars started by the 
same plan ? " 

" Not exactly. In that case a simple cylinder 
and piston are placed in an upright position, 
and at the proper moment the piston is forced 
up. This rotates the toothed wheel which you 
see here. Watch the tender we are now ap- 
proaching, and you will see more than I can 
exj^lain." 

Paul watched as directed. He saw one tender 
cast off just in time to come to rest at the right 
point, with its forward end just over a great 
wheel. Under the tender in w^aiting a similar 
propulsion wheel began to revolve, slowly at iirst, 
but gradually increasing its revolutions until the 
departing tender left it at full speed, ranged 
itself alongside the train, and was promptly 
hooked on. 

" Excuse me. Professor, but I did not see you 
pay our fares as we entered. Do we do that 
upon leaving the station ? " 

" Fares ? Oh, there are no fares. All is per- 
fectly free." 

" But how are the companies compensated ? " 

" There are no companies. The Government 
runs and operates all lines of transportation for 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 65 

either passengers or freight, as well as all other 
means of communication, by road, wire, or tube, 
including mail carriage, telegraphs, telephones, 

and pneumatic-tube service. And all are free 

perfectly free. In your time you had started in 
this direction by making many of your highways 
and bridges free to the public, and mail-matter 
nearly so. As the people supply the labor that 
supports all the public conveniences I have men- 
tioned, they are certainly entitled to their use. 
Please understand that the people and the Gov- 
ernment are one — they are synonymous terms." 



CHAPTER X. 

The Hospital, 

When, after a few minutes of rapid flight in 
the railway, they alighted at the riverside, the 
Professor explained that he had stopped at this 
point in order to give his visitor an opportunity 
to see one of the several hospitals scattered 
about the suburbs of the city. 

" You seemed interested by references I made 
to beggary and crime, and it occurred to me 
that you would like this opportunity to glance 
at one of our hospitals, which will indicate cer- 
tain provisions now made for the maintenance 
of health, and having an important influence on 
those questions." 

" You are very kind. You will find me an in- 
terested spectator and listener. But first, please 
let me ask a few questions. You alluded to dis- 
ease as one of the exciting causes of poverty, 
and hence of crime, in my day. You surely can- 
not have banished disease ! " 

'* Not entirely, j^et very largely. Death still 
awaits us all, and, throughout life, we still suffer 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 67 

those ills to which flesh seems naturally and in- 
evitably heir. But the records show that most 
of the diseases that brought distress to the an- 
cients were unnecessary ; they were mainly such 
as were directly attributable to poor or inappro- 
priate food, poor drainage, lack of sunshine and 
fresh air, lack of exercise or too much of it, vice 
of many kinds, and ignorance of even the sim- 
plest laws of physical well-being. By removing 
those prolific sources of disease, the world first 
cured the majority of its patients, then prevented 
further accessions to the ranks, and gradually 
reduced the liability of recurrence of the same 
weaknesses in offspring. Indeed, large classes 
of disorders which you looked upon as incurable 
are now practically unknown, excepting as spo- 
radic examples that are rather welcomed than 
otherwise by our physicians." 

" AVhat one, for instance ? " 

" Well, most notably what you used to call 
' tubercular consumption.' A case of that kind 
is now a curiosity ; and the patient is promptly 
removed where there may be no possibility of 
his distributing the microbes that produce it. I 
also recall what you knew as 'chclera,' 'small- 
pox,' ' yellow fever ! and ' leprosy.' Let me tell 
you that we deal wjth disease as a deadly enemy 
that deserves no qrarter. We first adopt every 
possible means of prevention. For instance, we 



68 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

respect certain marriage rules that you would no 
doubt consider arbitrary and harsh, but which 
have resulted in so improving the world's health 
that all people now recognize their justness and 
propriety. No diseased or deformed person who 
is liable to communicate serious imperfection of 
any kind to offspring is ever allowed to marry." 

" But how can you prevent marriages ? " 

" By the same means that we effect them — 
by law; and our laws mean more than mere 
written statutes. They are founded on justice 
and right. The public recognizes this fact, and 
every person feels it for his own interest, as well 
as for the public good, to see that they are en- 
forced. You were not so blind but that you 
found it right to prevent a lunatic or a leper 
from marrjdng — and 3'ou even banished the 
latter forever as a hopeless outcast. But you 
nourished in your homes diseases that were even 
more readily communicable, and quite as danger- 
ous to life and health and moral stamina." 

't True — too true ! " 

" But now let us take a distant view of the 
hospital, which, as you see, consists of a number 
of small buildings arranged in a semicircle on 
the little island before us. "^here are eighteen 
buildings in the line, and yo \ will notice that 
they are divided by walls i ito three distinct 
groups. Those to the left '.re devoted to par 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 69 

tients sufeering from ailments affecting the mind, 
. including imbeciles and the. insane ; the centrj 
groiq) to those who are physically ill or injured ; 
while the three to the right are occupied by 
those who are morally deranged." 
" Morally deranged ? " 

"Yes, I believe you used to ap23ly the term 
'prison' to the institution used for the confine- 
ment of moral patients." 

"They are convicts, then? But why are 
these associated with your hospitals ? " 

" Why not? They constitute a part, though 
happily a small part, of the patients that come 
under the same management and treatment." 
" You astound me ! " 

" We simply treat them as persons who are 
morally deformed or ailino." 

" But how do you punish them ? " 
" We know no such thing as punishment in 
their case. We confine them, partly for their 
own good, to prevent their doing further injury 
to themselves, and partly with reference to pub- 
lie safety; but the idea of ^punishment,' in the 
sense in which it was known to your system of 
criminal jurisprudence, has no part in ours. 
Vice and crime are sufficient punishment in 
themselves." 

" Not where conscience is lackino-." 

" But that is seldom, and especially in the 



70 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

early history of crime, where our liiws mainly 
apply. In the case of impaired or undeveloped 
conscience, responsibility would be reduced, and 
your so-called ' punishment ' was liable to be 
needlessly harsh. It is clear that a person ut- 
terly without conscience, or knowledge of right 
or wrong, would deserve merely the treatment 
of a beast — confinement." 

" Under such conditions, your places of con- 
finement must be of vast number and extent." 

*' No ; I think there are only eight other 
hospitals in Tone, and they are merely receiving 
stations. All our permanent patients are in the 
buildings now before you." 

*' Why, Boston of my time required buildings 
of twenty times the number and size for its hos- 
pitals, asylums, and houses of correction ; and 
the present city must be many times as popu- 
lous." 

" About twenty times, I believe." 

" Professor, I do not yet understand the se- 
cret of this wonderful decrease in sickness and 
crime." 

" There are many causes, but none are mys- 
terious or in any way surprising to us now, al- 
though some of them may appear so to you. I 
have already explained to you several of the 
means by which we have gradually decreased 
the spread of communicable diseases, until they 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 71 

are now well-nigh stamped out. There was one 
means that was adopted many centuries ago, 
which I did not mention, but which has proved 
of supreme service in the work of purifying the 
blood of successive generations. It applies to 
all persons, whether mental, physical, or moral 
patients, who are ever committed to this institu- 
tion, and it goes into effect as soon as the Coun- 
cil of Judges has pronounced judgment that the 
taint — mental, physical, or moral — is incurable 
and liable to be communicated to offspring. 
By an instantaneous and painless operation, the 
patient is rendered forever sterile." 

" It seems barbarously cruel." 

" Excuse me, but that is because you view the 
subject from a nineteenth century standpoint, 
which had no horizon, but was wholly occupied 
with evils of the hour. Without this wise pro- 
vision, we should be obliged to keep our pa- 
tients in confinement throughout their natural 
lives, for it is contrary to every rule of justice 
that physical and moral disease afflicting the 
present generation should be allowed to cast its 
curse upon a helpless and innocent generation 
yet unborn. We recognize that we owe some- 
thing to future generations as well as to those 
that have preceded us ; and we try to do our 
duty by them in tliis respect. By this simple 
precaution, continued through centuries, a thou- 



72 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

sand taints of mind, body, and naorals, that ren- 
dered reform in your day difficult to the very 
verge of impossibility, have steadily been eradi- 
cated, until the question of inherited €lisease, in- 
cluding that of vice, is now one of the minor 
ones, over which we have almost perfect con- 
trol." 

"But the enactment of such a law must, at 
first, have aroused bitter opposition on the part 
of the public. Its very suggestion in my day 
would have called down universal condemna- 
tion." 

" My dear Mr. Prognosis, please try and un- 
derstand that, since the inauguration of the 
reign of general peace, the peoj^le have really 
been the law-makers as well as the governors. 
For us to find fault with our laws would be to 
convict ourselves of error in enacting them. 
You may be sure- that a law of this importance 
was not adopted until public sentiment had ac- 
cepted it as right and proper. It first had to 
meet the test of the White Button standard of 
truth and justice. That question settled, a pub- 
lic sentiment that has gradually been educated 
to the acceptance of every dictate of justice 
simply demanded it. Results have fully proved 
the wisdom of its adoption." 

" And it is still in operation ? " 

" Yes, though seldom enforced in these days. 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 



Its function was mainly performed in centuries 
now long passed, when the power of the crimi- 
nal classes often blocked the wheels of prog- 



ress. 



" You spoke of the great size of Tone. Is it 
the largest of your cities ? " 

" By no means. There are scores that are 
its equal and several that are much larger. The 
most populous of all in the Americas is located 
on the isthmus connecting the two continents, 
which stands at the crossroads where converge 
all the chief lines of travel, north and south, 
east and west, by land and by sea. That great 
cosmopolis of Carrefour has a population of over 
fifty millions." 

" I never heard of it." 

" It had no reason to be, when, in your day, 
South America had hardly given a sign of its 
magnificent future, and when the entire navies 
of your globe scarcely equaled those that now 
daily pass through our inter-continental canals. 
The city of Carrefour grew naturally from a lit- 
tle port into a mammoth metropolis, by reason 
of the steady development of all countries south 
of the equator, which was just beginning in your 
day and has continued with rapid strides ever 
since. The formation of new governments 
founded on the principles of modern civilization, 
symbolized by this white button I wear, gave 



74 THE CRYSTAL BUTTOX. 

opportunities for testing the Costoriau theory 
with a freedom that was impossible under the 
older governments. The result was a complete 
vindication of Costor's teachings." 

" Costor ? Who was Costor ? And what was 
his theory of government?" 

" To know that is to know the foundation of 
modern civilization. To-morrow evening, if time 
will allow, I will try and tell you about it. This 
hospital you have just seen is a type of one of 
the many modern institutions that have been de- 
veloped in their present form from the clear, 
straightforward teachings of that master man. 
You shall know about him later, and then you 
will understand many things underlying our 
present ideas and customs that might otherwise 
appear inexplicable." 



CHAPTER XL 

The Pyramids, 

Leaving the hospital, they walked along the 
paved embankment about half a mile, until, upon 
rounding a hill, they found themselves at the ap- 
proach to the " Old Bridge," one of many cross- 
ing the mighty salt stream, but the noblest of 
them. There it loomed before them, and Paul's 
practiced eye studied the magnificent sweep of 
its arches. The solid wall above the arches was 
almost wholly covered by elaborate and beauti- 
ful designs, deeply cut in the solid stone ; and 
at the crown of each arch was a projecting key- 
stone, which formed the base of a pilaster-like 
column, thus dividing the scidptured belt into 
panels. Surmounting the wall, directly over 
these pilasters, were huge blocks of stone on 
which rested bronze figures of all known ani- 
mals, singly or in groups, the larger at the ends 
of the structure and the smaller at the centre, 
in regular gradation. They were all of ex- 
quisite workmanship, resembling those on the 
Peace Monument. 



76 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

"This," said the Professor, "is one of the 
chief landmarks of onr city, if I may so call 
it. You would hardly think it a thousand years 
old, yet such is the fact ; the cement that binds 
the stones is as enduring as the solid granite 
itself, and the entire structure as indestructible 
as though carved from the everlasting hills." 

" It is grand — grand beyond the J30wer of 
words!'' said Paul, who found himself running 
short of original modes of exj)ressing his oft- 
excited admiration. 

" Well, let us now follow the upper roadway 
to the centre arch. Here, at this end, as you 
will notice, is the ' Arch of the Elephants,' as it 
is called, which is mated at the other end by the 
' Arch of the Mastodons.' Next to these, on 
either side, are the camels and the behemoths. 
After leaving the riverbanks come the hippopot- 
ami and crocodiles ; and, over the centre of the 
stream, are all kinds of fishes. See ! we are now 
among the fishes. And here, from the top of 
this central arch, we have our best view of the 
Pyramids, to which I called your attention from 
the Peace Monument. Please understand that 
we have not wasted our time and substance in 
reproducing those old EgyjDtian tombs, which 
are as famous in our day as in yours. Ours 
are quite as large, but they are for the living. 
You shall see for yourself." 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 77 

As they mounted the avenue that led from the 
"Old Bridge," Paul continued to gaze with in- 
creasing wonder on the two massive piles cut- 
ting the horizon before him, that had every 
appearance of two pointed mountains firmly 
planted on the plateau. They were located about 
half a mile from the river, one on either side of 
the avenue, and surrounded by groves of trees. 
They stood in sombre majesty, their form sug- 
gesting strength and permanence in the highest 
degree. As the wondering spectator approached 
nearer, he could see that their sides were cov- 
ered as with a fresco of many tints, broken by 
spots of color and reflected light ; and their 
vast proportions became more and more over- 
whelming. 

" Can it be possible," asked Paul, " that those 
are the windows of human dwellings which I 
see in sparkling lines along those stairlike ter- 
races ? " 

" Windows ? yes ; and dwellings ? yes — more 
than four thousand dwellings in each pyramid, 
and very good ones too, supplied with every 
convenience as well as every household necessity 
of this most comfortable age. The South Pyra- 
mid alone has a present population of about 
twenty-two thousand persons." 

" They strike me as more like ant-hills magni- 
fied into mountains than human habitations." 



78 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" Well," said the Professor smiling, " that is 
just what they are sometimes called. But the 
people who live in them are mostly artisans, who 
are both industrious and proud of their indus- 
try, and therefore not averse to being likened to 
that intelligent little six-legged worker. But 
you will see — you will see ! We will inspect 
this southern ant-hill." 

Paul spoke scarcely a word during the re- 
mainder of the walk, but kept his eyes fixed on 
the pyramid they were now rapidly approach- 
ing, which seemed to expand in height and bulk 
with every step he took. 

" On each of the four sides," explained the 
Professor, " there are several converging lines 
of inclined railways, all entrance being by the 
exterior ; and here we now are at Station No. 
29. Step into this car and we will go immedi- 
ately to the summit. I often come here to en- 
joy the charming view from the upper terraces, 
and also to breathe the invigorating air, for the 
breezes love to visit here even when they desert 
us in the lower city." 

" But I should think it would be extremely 
hot on a breathless summer afternoon." 

*' Oh no ! for it is then a bower of vines and 
shade trees. Do you not see that every entrance 
has its little strip of soil, planted with trees and 
shrubs ? In summer these gardens are more 
beautiful than I can describe." 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 79 

" And in winter, is it not frightfully bleak 
and windy ? " 

" No more so than in any place where air 
and sunshine have free entrance. The dwell-, 
ings are so constructed that they can be made 
perfectly snug and comfortable in the coldest 
weather, with abundance of hot air that can be 
turned on at any moment ; while the railways 
afford the easiest possible communication with 
the rest of the world." 

Seating themselves in the car that awaited 
them, they started on their upward climb, pro- 
ceeding rather slowl}'', while the conductor con- 
tinued crying out " Fourth I " '' Fifth ! " and 
so on up to the forty-fourth terrace, when they 
were as near the top as the Professor cared to 
go. 

" Ah ! " said Paul, as he sniffed the pure and 
invigorating air, " this is indeed better than the 
rookeries we called 'tenements,' built in verti- 
cal blocks in narrow, sunless streets, where the 
working-people in our cities were huddled in 
their so-called homes." 

As they walked along, the Professor explained 
that each terrace was fifteen feet in height and 
depth, and that each dwelling had a frontage 
upon it of twenty feet. The flooring of each 
was four feet above the terrace, so that the door 
was reached by a few steps ; and under the 



80 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

main windows of eacli were low broad windows 
serving to light and ventilate the lower or base- 
ment rooms. He further stated that, in most 
cases, a single dwelling consisted of four princi- 
pal rooms : two in front, besides the hallway, 
and two at the rear ; while still others, without 
light from the front, were carried further into 
the interior and formed excellent sleeping apart- 
ments, as they were fairly well lighted and per- 
fectly ventilated by central shafts, down which 
the sun's rays were directed by an ingenious 
system of reflectors. 

" But how is it possible to utilize the central 
portion of this mountain of stone and iron and 
glass ? " 

*' At its base it is honeycombed by chambers 
used as municipal storehouses for surj^lus food. 
The lower two tiers consist of a vast number of 
heavily-arched vaults devoted to cold storage; 
and on the outer margin of the second tier, be- 
tween the vaults and the dwelling apartments, 
is an encircling arched corridor, the floor of 
which can be flooded and frozen over at any 
time, even in midsummer, and thus be converted 
into a skating galler3\" 

'' How is the process of freezing accom- 
plished ? " 

" By merely releasing compressed air under 
high pressure from pipes communicating with 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 81 

Mount Energy. This gallery passes entirely 
around the structure. The remainder of the in- 
terior is devoted to innumerable markets, shops, 
audience chambers, dining-rooms, etc., lighted 
artificially and ventilated through many flues 
opening out on the terraces or through vertical 
air-shafts. Ventilation is further effected by 
draughts of cold or hot dry air, supplied by 
elaborate systems of pipes, which also serve to 
cool or heat the several departments. All the 
rooms are lighted by electricity, so that they can 
be made to glow with midday glory whenever 
desired. In brief, Mr. Prognosis, everything 
that heart can wish is obtainable by the dwellers 
of this Pyramid without ever visiting the outside 
world. It is simply a fully organized city, piled 
on end instead of being stretched lengthwise." 

" But how about fire ? A general conflagra- 
tion would be a serious matter in such a build- 
ing." 

"Accidental fire is something we no longer 
dread. With you, I am aware that it was a con- 
tinual menace, and it not only meant millions of 
waste every year, but also cost the lives of many 
persons. Now we use only fireproof materials 
for building; and, if the contents of any suite 
of rooms become ignited, fireproof doors are 
barred upon them, and a volume of steam intro- 
duced that quickly subdues the most threatening 



82 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

blaze. But we depend less on the fireproof qual- 
ities of materials than on preventives of fire and 
constant care and watchfulness. No expense 
was spared in the construction of this building, 
and the investment was a profitable one, for it is 
just as serviceable to-day as when the masons 
rang their trowels on its- walls a thousand years 
ago. In like manner, no expense is now spared 
in adopting every possible preventive of fire ; 
and this has also proved profitable, for no seri- 
ous conflagration has ever occurred, and no life 
has ever been sacrificed. Immunity from acci- 
dent in the past is not allowed to cause any re- 
laxation in the present service of the fire-patrol ; 
but a single alarm would immediately summon 
a corps of trained men, furnished with every 
modern means of fighting the destructive ele- 
ment. The records clearly show that our largest 
dwelling houses are by far the safest in this 
respect." 

"These exterior terraces certainly afford a 
convenient means of exit in case of danger. 
There is no longer any possibility of people be- 
ing roasted alive while clinging to lofty window- 
sills within sight of all the world, but utterly be- 
yond the reach of human aid." 

" That is true, and that is one of the argu- 
ments used by the architect who designed the 
Pyramids. As populations were massed more 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 83 

and more in the great cities and the vertical 
buildings rose loftier and loftier, the danger 
from this source steadily increased, for smoke 
proved a more deadly enemy than fire. Both 
smoke and fire can now be speedily escaped by 
occupants, and help can be promptly afforded 
from without. But the record speaks for itself : 
a thousand years — and not a dweller in the 
Pyramids has ever lost his life from fire." 

As they slowly descended, Paul glanced into 
numberless dwellings, schoolrooms, stores, mar- 
kets, and places of amusement ; and he readily 
admitted that he had never before seen anything 
so neat, cheerful, and comfortable. He espe- 
cially noted the peaceful and happy look of all 
the people whom he passed. They had no re- 
semblance to the careworn and discourasred faces 
that he had learned to think inseparable from 
those who worked with their hands in the hum- 
bler callings of life, or depended upon those 
who so worked. Their cheeks glowed with 
health and their eyes with happiness. 

Paul spoke to a little girl who stood at one of 
the doorways. She responded politely, but evi- 
dently did not understand him. As he rejoined 
the Professor, the latter said : " She is telling 
her mother that you are a ' sailor man.' " 

A little later, a young man greeted the Pro- 
fessor, and they gladly accepted an invitation 



84 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

to enter his home. The Professor explained to 
Paul that this was an employee at the observa- 
tory, who had a minimum income, so that his 
quarters would well represent what could be 
done with small means in the way of housekeep- 
ing. 

" Thomas, do you think your wife would ob- 
ject to our looking into all your rooms ? " 

" She shall speak for herself, sir, if you 
please." And he introduced a healthy young 
woman, neatly dressed, of whom he was evi- 
dently not a little proud, and she seemed well 
worthy of his regard. 

From the combined sitting-room and parlor 
they passed to the dining-room opposite, both 
of these rooms looking out upon the trellised 
terrace ; and then to the bedrooms, in one of 
which lay a sleeping child, and below to the 
kitchen, laundry, etc. There was not only per- 
fect neatness everywhere, but evidences of taste 
abounded in the way of pictures, books, wall 
decorations, and musical instruments, that the 
visitor had little expected. 

"Excuse me," said Paul, "but I do not see 
how you manage with your washing, in the ab- 
sence of an area. Our back yards were mainly 
devoted to the duty of clothes-drying." 

The wife opened a large closet, and explained 
that this was her drying-room, where she had 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 85 

but to hang the wet clothes and admit a power- 
ful current of hot air. The ventilation of all the 
rooms was evidently perfect, and they were all 
lighted and cheerful. Paul was free to confess 
that his own house was not one whit more com- 
fortable as a home. 

After leaving the apartment, he said : " Pro- 
fessor, one of the points I still fail to understand 
is this. You seem to have developed a new race 
of dwellers as well as a new species of dwellings. 
I fear, if the tenement class of my day were 
given the freedom of this place, they would soon 
reduce it to their own level of disorder, filth, and 
degradation. Of what account would be tiled 
floors, and porcelain walls, and all accommoda- 
tions offered by running water, ventilators, hot- 
air currents, and electric lights, in the hands of 
ignorant and shiftless persons having no appre- 
ciation of their value, and no knowledge how to 
intelligently care for them ? " 

" Precisely. But the preliminary work of ed- 
ucating the working classes in the art of home- 
making had been in process many centuries be- 
fore these Pyramids were raised. The women 
are mainly responsible as the home-makers. One 
reason why your mechanics had such poor homes 
is perfectly clear ; the women of their class, 
whom they naturally took as wives, received lit- 
tle home training and no public instruction in 



86 THE CRYSTAL BUTT OX. 

the serious duties of life which they ignorantly 
undertook. They did not know what housekeep- 
ing meant. They did not know what home really 
meant. They consequently lacked a requisite to 
home-making that even wealth and trained ser- 
vants could not fully supply. Ignorance such 
as this, of the first principles of life, is now im- 
possible. The compulsory education of these 
days means something, and it means quite as 
much to women as to men. It means the eman- 
cipation and the happiness that go hand in hand 
with knowledge and ability. You rightly sur- 
mise that the slatterns of your tenement-houses 
would soon make a slatternly tenement-house of 
this palace. But let me tell you that a corps of 
women such as Thomas's young wafe, who tells 
me that she is a graduate of the Home-makers' 
Institute, would find or make a way to convert 
even a tenement apartment-house into an abode 
of beauty and comfort, whose attractions would 
make a home-lover out of any husband worthy 
of the name." 

"Then you are disposed to look upon your 
Pyramids as a result rather than a cause ? " 

" Partly, but not altogether. Such things are 
always reciprocal to a greater or less extent. A 
neat and well-appointed house of course helps 
to arouse the pride and ambition of the young 
housekeeper ; but it is a diamond in the rough, 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 87 

and opaque until she has polished it and taught 
it to catch the sunshine. These Pyramids and 
other great dwelling-houses of similar design 
simply represent one of the many means which 
have been adopted to help educate our work- 
ing people to found — each his own castle, each 
his own shrine, each his own something worthy 
to work for ! " 

" Are workmen encouraged to marry and to 
make homes for themselves ? " 

" Of course ! in every way that seems prac- 
ticable. We are now a nation of homes. There 
can be no stable general government unless it 
rests upon an aggregation of home govern- 
ments ; and it is recognized that whatever makes 
home-life better and happier contributes directly 
to the stability of the national life." 

" The fact that your population is more homo- 
geneous than in my day helps to make this 
possible." 

" Of course, time is a physician that can help 
cure many evils, but every individual is to some 
extent responsible for the tendency of his time. 
There must be constant education of mind and 
manners, or time will only make matters worse." 

They Vs^alked for some moments in silence. 
" One more glance," added the Professor, " and 
then we are done for to-day. Here is the grand 
central hall, which overtops the honeycombed 



88 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

series of storehouses forming the nucleus of this 
vast pile. This hall, as you see, divided by ave- 
nues and streets, is the business centre of this 
little world. The numerous domes of glass that 
light it from above are the lower extremities of 
shafts that pierce the building vertically and act 
like great aiteries through which sunshine and 
air can circulate." 

From a lofty gallery Paul looked down upon 
the brilliant scene of activity beneath him, and 
then aloft to the golden ceiling, now sparkling 
with myriad suns of electricity. The sj^ace, the 
color, the glow, the warm pleasant odor, the 
throb of distant music, the nameless emotion of 
a dream that is not known to be a dream, 
dazed his senses. " Show me no more won- 
ders ! " he plead, " for I cannot longer compass 
them. Please lead the way, that we may move 
and keep moving until heaven once more en- 
circles us with its restful curve of blue ! " 

The Professor understood. They passed to 
the open air, saw the winter sun just kissing 
its hand from the western hills, took the cars 
again, and in another half hour were seated once 
more in the subdued light of the Professor's 
study. 



CHAPTER XII. 

A Dinner at the Hestaurant. 

After bathing, Paul seated himself on the 
sofa in the study, with his dog Smudge at his 
side, and before he knew it, fell sound asleep. 
When he awoke and looked dreamily about him, 
he found the Professor still busy at his table. 
Smudge aroused simultaneously, and thrust a 
paw into his hand. 

"Well, Mr. Prognosis, that hour's nap will 
do you a world of good. That you might not 
be interrupted, my family are already taking 
dinner, and it has been arranged that you and 
I shall now go and have ours at one of the sum- 
mer-garden restaurants, conducted under mu- 
nicipal supervision, at the Palace of the Sun, 
that forms an interesting feature of winter life 
in Tone, in which I feel sure you will be in- 
terested. The fact is, Mr. Prognosis, we give 
a great deal of attention nowadays to the ques- 
tion of health ; and, both as cause and effect, 
we have become a nation of gormands, — gor- 
mands in a good sense, — people who make a 



90 THE CJiYSTAL BUTT OX. 

science of eating, who know the best, and are 
conseqnently satisfied with no other. I want 
the pleasure of introducing you to one of the 
most famous of these restaurants. It is only a 
short walk from here." 

The walk, which proved only too short, was 
soon taken ; and they then approached a public 
square which Paul had not before seen, sur- 
rounding what seemed an immense conservatory 
of glass, its lines of light diminishing in dis- 
tances that clearly showed this to be by far the 
greatest building he had ever gazed upon. 

" This," said the Professor, " is the Palace 
of the Sun ; but please ask no questions about 
it, for you shall have an opportunity to inspect 
it later. I have purposely approached the rear 
entrance of the restaurant, so that the Palace 
itself may retain its novel attractions until some 
occasion when you have ample time to do it 
justice." 

They now passed through a triple gateway 
into a garden, and entered a handsome build- 
ing resemblhig a club-house, where they left their 
outer clothing in the cloak-room, and then as- 
cended the grand staircase to a hall of great 
dimensions, and surpassing in beauty of detail 
anything of the kind that Paul had ever seen 
or dreamt. A suffused and mellow light from 
some unseen source made artificial day ; and 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 91 

bowers of roses, and orange-trees, and trellised 
grapes, and plashing fountains, made a tropical 
garden of the room itself, which seemed re- 
flected in the scene without the windows ; while 
through the warm and perfumed atmosphere 
laughed a merry breeze of orchestral music. 
All the windows were open, and birds fluttered 
in and out. The new-comers soon made them- 
selves comfortable in a secluded nook, where 
a waiter immediately attended, as if flashed 
from the rugs beneath their feet. 

" I have to confess," said the Professor, " that 
I never once thought of inviting you to lunch 
to-day, being engrossed by the interest you 
showed in all things. That was unhealthy, and 
consequently very wrong, and I beg your par- 
don." 

But Paul made confession to the fact that he 
had been so tired before the nap that he was 
then in no condition to eat. 

" I hope that you are quite rested now." 

*' Perfectly, and ready to see anything and 
everything in the way of new wonders that you 
may be pleased to summon with your witch's 
wand." 

" I am glad of that, for, after dinner, I have 
a literary or scientific treat in store for you. 
Well, now, what would you particularly like to 
have? Whatsoever the world produces is now 
to be had for the asking." 



92 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" Anything you will kindly set before me 
will be acceptable — always excepting cabbage 
and cauliflower." 

The Professor laughed, and remarked that he 
w^as rather fond of cauliflower, and had seriously 
contemplated ordering some ; but, out of con- 
sideration for his guest, he would of course omit 
it. 

" On no account ! Please yourself, and I 
promise to be pleased. Some of your dishes 
will no doubt be strange to me, but I am sure 
they will be good ; and, with the exception of 
the two vegetables named, I can eat anything I 
ever saw served." 

The Professor readily assumed the command 
thus conferred upon him, and soon had the 
opening course of a savory repast upon the ta- 
ble. Just where it came from was not appar- 
ent to Paul, but there it stood smoking before 
him : first, a golden-colored soup, with an odd 
name but a delicate flavor ; then, some wonder 
of a fish, quite free from bones, and with a 
highly appetizing sauce ; and next, a small roast 
fowl, with numerous side dishes of vegetable 
preparations, most of which were new to him. 
After the dessert followed a variety of fruits, 
wholly unfamiliar but peculiarly delicious ; and 
finally, a welcome old friend in the form of a 
cup of fragrant coffee. 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 93 

As they sipped this, the Professor asked: 
"Tell me, Mr. Prognosis, now that you have 
had an opportunity to recover from your first 
feeling of wonder, how did our Pyramids strike 
you ? " 

"Well, sir, I can only repeat that they are 

certainly abodes of the blest as compared with 

the city tenements of my time, which I suppose 

were their prototypes. You could not imagine, 

sir, if you were to try, what those tenements 

really were — shadowed in narrow courts and 

alleyways, dark, mildewed, squalid, filthy ! And, 

without seeing them, you could not imagine the 

wretched condition of the creatures who lived, 

or rather who drooped and died, in them. You 

could not imagine the horror of the rumshops 

and other dens of vice that always encircled 

them, — vile haunts of crime which, like fungous 

growths, fattened on what they destro3^ed, and 

exhaled their miasma to increase if possible the 

loathsome odors of the street. You could not 

imagine the degradation of the children born 

and bred amid such surroundings, — unhealthy, 

ignorant, void of all good or desire for good ; 

spawned like reptiles, and then thrust forth to 

beg, starve, pilfer, murder, and further spread 

the contagion of disease and sin.. Oh ! sir, it is 

too pitiful to even think of. Let us not speak of 

it further." 



94 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" But were there no true men, no strong men, 
no willinc: men and women to undertake the 
task of reform, however hard it might be? Was 
nothing done to rouse public sentiment to an ap- 
preciation of the wretched condition of fellow 
human beings ? I should think that the pleas- 
ure of life, even for the fortunate, would have 
been destroyed by the contemplation of such 
misery, or by the mere knowledge of it even if 
they turned their eyes away." 

" Oh ! we had prophets among us, and reform- 
ers, and noble men and women who were will- 
ing to lay down martj^r lives to better the con- 
dition of their degraded brothers and sisters. 
But it was a well-nigh hopeless task. Many of 
their most heroic efforts seemed only to result 
in intensifying the evils they sought to remedy. 
They seemed perfectly powerless, and the candle 
of Christianity that had kept the world in hope 
for many centuries seemed about to die out. 
You see, the evils of the day had their roots too 
deep down in the customs of the past ; they were 
the outsfrowths of numberless jjenerations of 
moral and social servitude, unwholesome tradi- 
tions, evil thoughts and habits, and gross in- 
stincts, that allied their victims to a condition 
worse than that of brute beasts. They had no 
hopes, no good ambitions that could be aroused, 
no consciences that could be appealed to." 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON: 95 

" Excuse me, but do not be too sure of that. 
They were certainly sunken in the lowest depths 
of misery, but consciences, — most of them still 
had consciences, and they still had possibilities 
of ambitions mightier than the mightiest of 
temptations. Vice no doubt was bred in their 
very blood ; but so also, I must think, was a lin- 
gering love of virtue ; and, with God's help, it 
has come to pass that strong men and women, 
working in his name through generation after 
generation and century after century, and grad- 
ually reinforced by stalwart recruits from the 
ranks they sought to help, have finally raised the 
standard of morals, both private and public, to a 
height you dared not hope. What you have 
seen to-day is not the result of any one act of 
any one person or of any million of persons, — 
though Costor gave direction to concerted ac- 
tion, — but of the combined efforts of all indi- 
viduals who have thus far lent their influence, 
by even the simplest word or act, to the cause of 
truth and justice. That 's the only way public 
sentiment is created, and Public Sentiment rules 
this world as God rules heaven ! To-day, Pub- 
lic Sentiment says all men have equal rights, 
if not equal capacities, — and it means and en- 
forces what it says. To-day, Public Sentiment 
pronounces vice degrading, and ignorance the 
mother of vice, and says that neither shall be 



96 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

tolerated. To-day, Public Sentiment pronounces 
labor ennobling, and it ennobles the laborer. 
That 's all there is about it." 

The Professor was evidently getting excited, 
and Paul was not unwilling to follow him into 
the brisk outdoor air. He was also glad to know 
that they had in prospect a walk of a mile before 
reaching the next scene of surprise. 

For a time neither spoke ; and Paul had a 
full opportunity to examine the faces that passed 
him. He looked in vain for any that suggested 
vice, hunger, poverty, or even care. The streets 
were crowded, but no one was in a hurry, though 
all seemed bound on some pleasurable quest. 

After a time, he ventured to inquire whether 
it was not found difficult to supply the various 
needs of the present increased population of the 
world. 

The Professor at first answered a little 
sharply : " No, sir ! We save what you wasted ! 
We work, while 3^ou played at work ! We give 
Nature and her vast forces an opportunity to 
work for us ! Arid we know how to wisely use 
what we have ! " 

Later on, he explained that the art of preserv- 
ing all kinds of perishable food had been brought 
to great perfection, and that vast reserves of 
food were continually stored in all corners of the 
world, as well as in such reservoirs as the Pyra- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 97 

mids in Tone and other chief centres, in order 
to guard against short croj^s resulting from 
drouth or other unavoidable cause. " With the 
poixilation the world now has, this is a prime 
necessity. We waste nothing, but preserve and 
store all that we have no present need for ; and 
the oceans and continents are fairly alive with 
fleet messengers that herald the first sign of 
lack, and haste to distribute wholesome "^ food 
wherever it is most needed." 

The coffee was evidently beginning to exert 
its benignant influence on the Professor's nerves, 
by allaying his irritation at the inexcusable ig- 
norance of the nineteenth century people. " I 
will say this," he remarked confidingly: "the 
progress you scored during the latter half of 
your century of strife, in mechanical science and 
also in the enfranchisement of your working 
classes, was never equaled in any like period of 
the world's history." 



CHAPTER XIII. 

The Meeting of the School of Sciences. 

By tlie time they arrived at the lecture hall, 
both men were quite refreshed. It was located 
in a stately granite building whose dome glittered 
far above them, which the Professor explained 
was exclusively devoted to the uses of the 
Learned Fellows of the High School of Sciences. 
During the few minutes that preceded the open- 
ing of the meeting, Professor Prosper passed 
around the hall, greeting his friends and greeted 
by them on all sides. He was evidently as pop- 
ular as he was well known. He kept Paul close 
at his side, and presented him to many of his 
friends with the words : " This is a valued 
acquaintance of mine, Mr. Paul Prognosis, who 
has a remarkable history, and whose knowledge 
of Old English so far exceeds my own that I 
feel highly honored in being allowed to name 
myself as his pupil." 

" Is it possible ? " — " Most remarkable ! " — 
" We shall certainly hope to welcome him as 
a fellow member ! " — remarked the several 



TBE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 99 

friends. "I trust that I may soon be able to 
announce a paper by you, Mr. Prognosis," said 
the president. He then mounted the rostrum 
brought Ins gavel down with a bang, called the 
meetnig to order, and read a few letters and for- 
mal notices; 

As he did so, Paul had an opportunity to ex- 
amme h,m. He was certainly a noble specimen 
of .ntellectual man. The great electric sun that 
illummated the auditorium seemed to invest his 
shining bald head with distinguishing radiance. 
Strange ! said Paul to himself as he gave a 
stealthy glance about the room, " I believe every 
man present excepting myself is b.ald — hope- f' 
lessly bald ! " 

After the preliminary business usual in such 
assemblies, the president stated that those pres- 
ent would have the pleasure of listening to one 
whoni ,t was unnecessary to introduce, as he 
was known to all -their honored fellow mem- 
ber,Mr._, Mr. -alas! he had forgotten the 
name. He searched among the papers on his 
desk, readjusted his glasses, and very calmly 
continued, "our honored fellow member, Mr 
Wmestine — Mr. Mark Winestine." 

During this episode, the venerable president 
continued making a series of little bows in the 
direction of the speaker prospective, while the 
reflected light from his shining scalp continued 



100 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

to describe a variety of curves which reminded 
Paul of the light-ribbons he used to make when 
a boy, by twirling a flaming brand. He fell to 
speculating on the nature of these curves of 
light, whether they were concentric, parabolic, 
or cycloidal. While thus absurdly employed, 
Mr. Winestine began speaking, as follows : — 

" It is a remarkable fact that, since natural 
history became a science, more than fifty well- 
known species of mammalia, and more than 
double that number of oviparous a^nimals, have 
become extinct ; while many others, not yet 
wholly extinct, are practically so, inasmuch as 
they are no longer found in a natural state. 
Such extinction of great classes of animal life 
has been mainly accomplished by direct and 
systematic warfare in the interests of humanity. 

" One cannot but rejoice that the great car- 
nivorous beasts of the feline, canine, and ursine 
families no longer exist. We must, however, 
except the great white bear and the foxes of 
the frozen North, wdiich still hold undisputed 
possession of their strongholds. 

" Of the giants of the Asian and African for- 
ests, the elephant alone remains, and he only as 
a domestic animal. The hipjDopotamus, rhinoc- 
eros, and that terrible reptile, the crocodile, and 
his kindred, are all swept forever from the face 
of the earth ; while the fierce lion and tiger 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. IQl 

have long ceased to devastate and make afraid. 
The world is also well rid of the entire serpent 
family, a long wished-for riddance that has but 
recently been effected. But it is now accom- 
plished ; and as in the case of certain diseases 
once common, there is no danger of a repeti- 
tion of the pest that for so many centuries rav- 
aged all the edens of this world. 

" Besides the above-named classes of animals, 
whose forced retirement from the living fauna 
causes no sentiments of regret, there are some 
others, including the fur-bearers and those whose 
flesh has been prized for food, which have been 
hunted to extinction, including that wonderfully 
intelligent rodent, the beaver, and also the otter, 
the fur seal, the noble bison, the great elk of the 
North, and the guanaco of the South. These, 
unfortunately, are now only known by their 
fossil remains and by the excellent works of 
ancient naturalists dating up to the twenty-fifth 
century. 

" At the same time there are many other classes 
of animals whose food qualities have particularly 
recommended them to our care, which have not 
only been preserved, but, owing to the destruc- 
tion of their natural enemies, have rapidly in- 
creased, — in some cases so rapidly as to become 
seriously troublesome to our farmers by reason 
of their numbers. Of the birds described by 



102 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

the ancients, very few have succumbed to the 
changing influences of time. Some few species 
have ceased to exist, while many others have 
become vastly more numerous, and particularly 
the insectivorous varieties, which have been so 
protected by man, by reason of their usefulness, 
that swarming hordes of insect life which used 
to destroy the vegetation of entire countries are 
now reduced to insisfuificant numbers. 

" I deeply regret that time allows me to but 
barely mention the subject that most interests 
nie in this connection — the one to which I have 
devoted my energies for many years past. You 
all know to what I refer. My forthcoming trea- 
tise will afford an opportunity to fully canvass 
the topic. You will therein see that I have at- 
tempted — with what success, it is for you to 
determine — to rid the world of one of the last 
vestioes of animal life that all concede to be not 
only useless but highly prejudicial to human 
interests — I refer to domestic rats and mice. 
A combined and continued effort is needed to 
destroy forever these active and prolific little 
rodents. Local efforts have been temporarily 
successful, but fresh incursions from neighbor- 
ing localities have soon filled their enemies with 
confusion. It is only through the combined ef- 
forts now about to be instituted throughout the 
world that we may hope to soon class these 



THE CRYSTAL BUTT OX. 103 

troublesome vermin with the already long list 
of extinct sjDecies." 

Mr. Winestine here bowed to the president, 
who, being engaged in taking a sip of water, 
neglected to respond to the salutation. 

Mr. Johnsraith next read a paper on " Arti- 
ficial Modification of Climate," in the course of 
which he remarked : — 

" Fifty years ago to-day I enjoyed the proud ^ 
distinction of having my scheme for changing! ' ^ ^ 
the ocean currents approved by the Grand Coun- ' 
cil. I had thought out the plan while still a 
boy, had often written on the subject, and often 
urged it upon the attention of this very body of 
scientific men — or, more correctly, upon those 
who then composed its membership. But all 
was of no avail, until I conceived the idea of 
practically demonstrating to the world the cor- 
rectness of my views by constructing an accu- 
rate model of the Atlantic Ocean, with its coast- 
lines and its varying depths accurately repro- 
duced in correct scale. The currents were set 
m motion by meclianical means, and the ])roper 
degree of heat was imparted to the tropical re- 
gions by submerged warm-water pipes, while the 
polar regions were subjected to a refrigerating 
process. This apparatus was so adjusted that 
the actual temperature of all parts of the ocean, 
and also of its many currents, was correctly re- 
produced. 



104 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" I must confess that it looked somewhat 
like the scheme of a madman to thus presume 
to control the mighty currents of the ocean ; but 
the topography of the ocean bed and its influ- 
ence on currents was already so well understood 
that I was able to draw conclusions much less 
wild than they w^ere at first regarded. 

" The idea had taken strong hold of me that 
artificial barriers might be so j^laced as to direct 
the arctic current into mid-ocean, and, at the 
same time, to divide the Gulf stream into two 
currents that might bathe and materially raise 
the temperature of the northern coasts of Amer- 
ica and Europe. 

" You know the result. What was theory is 
now reality. By placing comparatively small 
artificial reefs at certain points that I indicated, 
the habitable portions of two continents have 
been very considerably increased, and now afford 
room ^,or the spread of our rapidly increasing 
population. The success of the undertaking 
teaches anew the power of cooperation, — shows 
anew that whatever work is undertaken by tlie 
Grand Council of Nations, whatever its propor- 
tions, must and ever will succeed." 

Professor Speculo was next introduced, and 
opened his remarks in a manner that showed 
him to.be quite familiar with the platform. 

"You have often listened to me while re- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 105 

counting the dry details of astronomical discov- 
ery, and I trust that I have already prepared 
your minds for an adequate understanding of 
the stupendous spectacle that is to be presented 
to our eyes in a few short hours from now. In 
my address this evening, I propose to hold up 
to your mental vision a picture, as seen in the 
focus of the great reflector, of the grandeur of 
the Sirian system. 

" The magnificence of that far-off luminary, 
which is the centre of a vast system of luminous 
and non-luminous bodies, is so great that the 
human mind fails to grasp the idea that a state- 
ment of its known volume would convey. Im- 
agine, if you can, a sphere glowing with light 
and heat so intense that our sun, bright as it 
seems, is pale and ineffectual in comparison. 
Imagine, if you can, that this fiercely glowing 
body has a diameter of upwards of twenty-five 
millions of miles. Then picture to yourself a 
score of planetary suns revolving about it, 
which, in stellar phrase, are in its immediate 
vicinity, but, in fact, some of them are about 
two hundred solimeters from the main body." 

" Professor, please," whispered Paul, " what 
is a solimeter ? " 

*' The earth's mean distance from the sun." 

*' So I supposed. A famous measuring-rod, 
truly ! " 



106 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

Mr. Speculo continued : — 

" Some of these luminous planets are of half 
the diameter of the sun, and give a brilliant 
light, while others show only a faint red light. 
Others still, though they must be of enormous 
magnitude, are seen only by reflected light. 
When you know that we have been able to de- 
tect the non-luminous bodies of the Sirian sys- 
tem, you will appreciate to some extent the won- 
derful achievements of modern optical science, 
which have enabled us to extend our vision across 
the incalculable gulf that separates us. If you 
can grasp the meaning of three hundred thou- 
sand solimeters, you will know what that gulf 
is ; and then, returning to Mars, we cannot but 
feel that it is a near neighbor." 

Paul succeeded in keeping his attention fixed 
for a few moments longer, with the hope that 
some further reference to neighbor Mars might 
occur ; but finding that the speaker was spread- 
ing his wings among systems more and more re- 
mote, — so remote, indeed, that even Sirius be- 
gan also to seem a neighbor by contrast, — he 
leaned his head on his hand as comfortably as cir- 
cumstances would i)ermit, and prepared — what! 
what was the meaning of this ? — he hardly rec- 
ognized it as belonging to him — his head was 
completely bald like the rest of those present ! 
He had become a Learned Fellow indeed ! But 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 107 

how had this happened, and when had it hap- 
pened ? " Smudge will scarcely recognize me," 
he murmured, as drowsiness again overpowered 
him, and he again supported that now unfamil- 
iar smooth poll on his hand and dropped oif into 
a quiet little cat-nap. 

From this refreshing sleep he was aroused by 
a lively, red-faced speaker, who, much to his as- 
tonishment, announced as his subject : " The An- 
alysis of Odors, and Analysis by Odors." What 
the speaker's name was he did not hear, and 
he never afterward learned, but his remarks in- 
cluded the following surprising statements : — 

" Yes, gentlemen, it is very fortunate that a 
subject so fascinating as that of odors should 
have been left by the ancients wholly untouched, 
and therefore fresh for us to investigate with an 
interest quite unique. The questioning minds 
of the past that ransacked the universe for new 
subjects for study were apparently baffled by 
the subtle character of odors. Those prying an- 
cients in a manner defrauded scientists of thisi 
age of much glory and self-satisfaction, by fore- \ 
stalling us in nearly all directions in our search 
after original truth. This subject, however, was 
a sealed book to them ; and, for that matter, it 
might have remained so to us and to all time, 
had it not been ordained that the Tu Ling 
family were to live and afford us the means of 



108 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

studying this obscure but highly interesting 
subject. 

" This remarkable case of abnormal develop- 
ment in the human species has no parallel in 
any record of the past that has come down to us. 
The extraordinary sense of smell possessed by 
the members of this singular Tu Ling family so 
far surpassed its ordinary development in man 
that it may almost be regarded as a sixth sense. 
The scenting power of the hound, which unerr- 
ingly tracks his master's horse over snow and 
ice, even though many other persons have subse- 
quently followed the same path, has ever excited 
wonder and admiration. Yet these Tu Lings 
were in no degree inferior to their canine rivals 
in the power to discriminate all scents. They 
could do all that the best scenting dogs can do, 
and they could do much more, for, being intelli- 
gent human beings, they were able to describe, 
name, and classify all possible odors. 

" Under the direction of Dr. Probe and my- 
self, a systematic analysis of these ethereal ema- 
nations was begun some ten years ago, and con- 
tinued, with occasional periods of rest, for about 
four years. 

" The members of this Tu Ling family were 
two brothers and a sister. All were in delicate 
health, and not strong enough for continuous 
effort, so that our work was necessarily inter- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 109 

mittent ; but the true character of odors was 
soon foreshadowed, and the great practical value 
of the inquiry realized. During the frequent 
pauses in the work of examination, many delicate 
instruments were perfected, mainly the result of 
the patient labors of my learned friend. Dr. 
Probe ; and toward the last the progress of our 
work was more rapid. The Tu Ling family are 
now all dead, but a complete account of their 
contributions to science is now on record. They 
lived long enough to fully verify the results of 
our experiments, and to rejoice with us when 
Dr. Probe finally succeeded in making odors vis- 
ible." 

The speaker then described in detail some of 
the instruments referred to, though the vocabu- 
lary employed was such as to make these quite 
unintelligible to the astonished visitor ; and he 
further stated that these instruments now offered 
an all-valuable means of detecting the most ethe- 
real, but none the less potent, emanations consti- 
tuting the medium in which mankind lives and 
breathes and has its being. 

Enthusiastic applause greeted the close of this 
learned paper. 

The chairman announced that the following 
papers might be expected at the next session : 
" Rate of Absorption of the World's Waters by 
Crystallization," by Professor Ring ; " Retarda- 



110 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

tion, as shown by Observations on the Standard 
Pendulum," by Professor Calculus ; " Prime 
Importance of a Correct Understanding of Old 
English of the Nineteenth Century Period," by 
Professor Prosper ; and " Observations in the 
Coal Mines at the North Pole and along the 
Lines of Covered Railways approaching thereto," 
by Dr. Peter O'Dactyl. He also remarked that 
Dr. O'Dactyl would present specimens from 
those celebrated mines, including some remarka- 
ble fossils that were quite new to science, one of 
these being especially interesting, namely : a 
[ /~)minordy?iodig iteriumrodentinn. 

The meeting was then dismissed, and Paul and 
his companion returned home through the now 
quiet streets, though still lighted as at midday. 

" AVell, Mr. Prognosis, I hope you enjo3^ed 
many of the statements you have heard, which 
afford hints as to some of the subjects that are 
now attracting public attention." 

" I did, and I shall exhaust your good nature 
at a later time by making inquiries about them. 
One thing I am particularly curious to know. 
What is the standard ]3endulum that was alluded 
to?" 

" Oh, that is an instrument located in the 
basement of the building we have just left, which 
beats thirty strokes per minute, and enables us 
to accurately compare the second of to-day with 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. Ill 

that of any past period of which we have records 
— and such records are numerous and exceed- 
ingly valuable." 

" I do not think that I understand its impor- 
tance." 

" Do not try to, to-night," said the Professor 
kindly. " I will arrange that you shall examine 
for yourself the mysteries of the great pendu- 
lum." 



CHAPTER XIV. 

A Glimpse of Country Life, 

" And now, Mr. Prognosis, whenever you feel 
drowsy from your unusual day's work of sight- 
seeing, you will find your chamber in readiness for 
you. Remember that you require a good night's 
rest to strengthen you for another and even 
harder day's travel to-morrow under the guidance 
of Marco, who is nearly as untiring a traveler 
as your dog Smudge. By the way, where is 
Smudge ? He must be lonel}^, and I don't see 
why he shouldn't be allowed to enjoy our so- 
ciety at least till bedtime. Perhaps, too, it will 
help to make you feel at home in our house if 
he takes kindly to a bearskin shake-down which 
shall be placed in your chamber." 

The Professor passed into an adjoining room, 
and, a moment later, the noble animal came 
bounding into the library, where, after mani- 
festing his affection for his master in canine 
fashion, he spread himself comfortably at Paul's 
feet, and appeared an interested listener to the 
conversation that followed. 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 113 

"I feel quite refreshed, Professor, and not 
inclined to sleep at present. If you are not 
tired, I should be best pleased to hear you talk." 

" On what subject, for instance ? " 

" On any subject pertaining to improvements 
in man's position in the world, that have re- 
sulted from your later and more highly de- 
veloped forms of civilization." 

*' I shall be delighted to thus oblige you, for, 
in fact, I am always fond of lecturing, so long 
as I can be sure of an interested audience. 
But please suggest some special topic to begin 
with, as the field is large." 

" Several subjects immediately occur to me," 
said Paul reflectively, "as leading ones in my 
day, such as ownership of property, real and 
personal, which of course includes farm-lands as 
well as city buildings. I should be extremely 
interested to know something of the methods 
of modern agriculture, for, without some radi- 
cal changes in this department of human in- 
dustry, resources must be severely taxed to meet 
the wants of the population that now, as I un-l 
derstand, covers nearly the entire continent." < 

" Very well ; let us then begin with the last 
of 3^our inquiries — that about agriculture, which 
also involves the question of land ownership. 
In the first place, you must keep clearly in mind 
the fact you have already stated, that a popu- 



114 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

lation, vast beyond the imagination of the nine- 
teenth century, now occupies not only the Amer- 
ican continent, but nearly every other habitable 
portion of the globe ; and also that such habit- 
able portion has been greatly increased during 
the later centuries, as was suggested in the re- 
marks of one of the speakers to-night. River- 
banks that the beaver once overflowed by his 
engineering feats are now populous with towns ; 
2"C-y town o± oiu hci'=5 become a city ; every city 
a metropolis ; every metropolis a cosmopolis, — 
of which Tone is a fair example, — with its 
every human dwelling and workshop a little city 
in itself, towering to the sky." 

"And the fields, the pastures, the grain prai- 
ries, the woodlands — are they still here ? " 

" Yes ; though they would probably be scarcely 
recognizable to you at first glance. To support 
/a population, whereof every thousand of old rep- 
resents a present million, and where every unit of 
this million now lives in comparative comfort and 
plenty — this means myriad changes in methods 
of production and distribution. There are now 
few if any waste places ; Nature never wastes, 
and man has learned to take Nature at her best 
and conform his ways to hers. Horticulture 
has supplanted agriculture, and every acre is 
studied and stimulated to do what it can best do, 
just as every man is expected to exert his best 
faculties in his most suitable field of action." 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 115 

" And how do you prevent waste ? " 
" In many ways. Whatever is produced is 
preserved, for waste is recognized as a form of 
wickedness that must mean want to some one, 
even if the waster himself is exempted from 
suffering the inevitable penalty. For instance, 
every berry, every fruit, however perishable, is 
promptly submitted to the improved processes 
that chemistry has tvUght, and so prepared that 
It shall be rearly f : future need. To a con- 
siderable extent, the waste of past ages consti- 
tutes the riches of the present era, and helps to 
fill to overflowing the vast storehouses of food 
products that now gird the globe and prevent 
all possibility of hunger." 

" And how about transportation ? '* 
" That problem has been satisfactorily solved. 
No one centre is allowed to become overstocked 
with the world's goods at the expense of less 
favored outskirting provinces. Where the need 
is, there fly the needfuls. Railways, and lines of 
road-vehicles propelled by power, net the land ; 
while the seas are highways over which proces- 
sions of buoyant ships, built of aluminium in- 
stead of iron and propelled by electric motors, 
bear their brimming food baskets. Thereby, the 
Grand Council of Nations is able to deal with 
the globe as the market gardener of old did 
with his garden plat : whatever corner is best 



116 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

suited to a certain product, that corner is de- 
voted to that product and to that alone. Most 
of the fruits we ate at dinner were grown in 
Africa. That country is now the world's hot- 
house, and the scent and flavor of its products 
make glad every table in the world, while the 
grainfields of the North return their appropriate 
quota. The luxurious wastefulness of constrain- 
ing Naturg_to half -do thin£,i, out of latitude and 
out of season, is no longer ^.;*c4iic2,bre." 

" And the farmers — do they not still own 
their farms, and have the right to do as they 
will with their own ? " 

"Within certain limits — yes; but they no 
longer have the right to buy or sell the lands 
they occupy, for the reason — which some of 
your far-sighted thinkers perceived, and which 
experience has proved to be founded on princi- 
ples of justice — that the general public has a 
direct interest, and consequently a prior right, 
in the improvement and productiveness of all 
lands, and is consequently responsible for re- 
sults. The breadth of land under cultivation 
must be proportionate to the needs of the pub- 
lic, with an ample margin of excess to meet 
contingencies. It was discovered that a ques- 
tion of such vital importance to the public at 
large could not be trusted with safety to the will 
of irresponsible individuals; but that the im- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 117 

provement of lands, to insure the best results, 
must of necessity be under the management of 
authorities appointed as the public's representa- 
tives to secure its highest good." 

" You speak of the improvement of lands. 
In what does that consist ? " 

" Primarily in the building and vitalizing of 
the soil." 

^' What do you mean by its building ? " 

" We have been long accustomed to supply 
soil to barren places." 

" How do you obtain the necessary material ? 
It would seem to me that you must merely rob 
one district to enrich another." 

" Not at all. We actually manufacture soil. 
We follow the lead of Nature, and simply sup- 
plement and hasten her processes. All soils, 
you must know, are produced by the disintegra- 
tion of the rocks from weatherino- and the addi- 
tion of accumulations of vegetable mould. The 
rocks furnish the chief elements : silica, alumina, 
carbonate of lime, magnesia, etc. But, in the 
case of natural soils, only a small proportion of 
these have the proper admixture of the elements 
needed to produce the best crops." 

" I am still at a loss to understand where 
you obtain materials for new combinations of 
earths." 

"I will give you an example. Let us take 



118 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

the case of a rocky hill, covered with boulders 
and a thin soil, adjoining which is a large tract 
of heavy clay-land, wholly unproductive. The 
clay is glacial drift or boulder clay, and very 
deep. Well, we go to work with our great pul- 
verizers and grind up all the loose rocks on the 
hill ; and the boulder clay in vast quantities is 
reduced to powder by the same agency. A por- 
tion of the rock dust is then transferred to the 
clay-lauds, and the clay dust to the hill. The 
hill is thereby freed from loose stones, and cov- 
ered to its summit by a deep, productive soil, laid 
on in terraces, while the clay-lands are made 
light and warm by the aduiixture of rock dust. 
Then, by the annual addition of leaf mould from 
the forests, and such artificial fertilizers as are 
known to be most suitable to the crops desired, 
we gradually convert such waste places, tliat in 
your day seemed hopelessly barren, into lands 
equal in productiveness to the richest river val- 
leys." 

'' The process is evidently expensive." 
" Certainly, and it would hardly be under- 
taken by individuals, who, looking upon life as 
short, are apt to work for immediate results, 
without much reference to the interests of fu- 
ture generations. But public expense in this di- 
rection, which was reall}'' demanded by public 
needs, has made returns by the thousandfold. 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 119 

The increase in government revenues thus se- 
cured has alone been sufficient to change penury 
to i^rosperity." 

" The practice is excellent," said Paul, " and 
it must, of course, have vastly increased the 
bounty of Mother Earth ; but even then, I 
should hardly expect that your farm products 
could keep pace with the demands of your grow- 
ing population." 

"Up to this time," answered the Professor 
thoughtfully, "the means of food supply have 
proved ample. The world is wide, and some 
large districts still remain unimproved, so that 
similar development in the future is still possible. 
Moreover, our forest-lands are also held in re- 
serve for future necessity, and in them we have 
vast districts yet left to draw upon. From 
what I have already explained, you will readily 
understand the necessity of government author- 
ity in controlling all lands and requiring of 
farmers that certain breadths be planted, and 
with certain plants best suited to the particular 
soil and also most needed to meet the annual 
requirements in the several lines." 

" Such authority must sometimes be oppres- 
sive to the farmers." 

" Not at all. It simply consists in indicating 
to the farmer what his farm is best calculated 
to produce, and what products are to be most in 



120 THE CRYSTAL BUTT OX. 

demand. By thus preventing over-production 
in any one line, it helj^s to keep prices stable, 
and prevents sjieculation in food products, which, 
in your day, was a tyrannous vice. The uncer- 
tainties that attended the lot of the farmer as 
you knew him made him a very different sort of 
person from the farmer of to-day. Agricultur- 
ists — or horticulturists, more properly — are 
now a very thrifty class, and they constitute a 
large proportion of our population. Farming is 
now a favorite industry, as affording healthful 
occupation, variety of interests, and generous 
rewards ; and most of our young men are per- 
fectly contented, if they are so fortunate as to 
secure good leases.*' 

" I presume you know that it was quite other- 
wise in my time. Then, very few boys had any 
fondness for the hoe, and one and all gave their 
best thought and energy to seeking how it might 
be escaped, and a city clerkship secured in its 
place." 

The Professor laughed. " And was n't that 
quite natural? The conditions that then sur- 
rounded farming: were all agfainst the farmer. 
Farming had not been reduced to a science, and 
it involved so much menial labor and so little 
development of the higher faculties that the 
young men saw little in it to stimulate their 
best ambitions. Moreover, the results of their 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 121 

labors were so handicapped by inadequate means 
of transportation and artificial fluctuations in 
values that their efforts were always more or 
less speculative. From lack of knowledge, the 
work was irksome ; while the profits, when 
there were any, had a fashion of mainly accru- 
ing to the benefit of transportation companies, 
monopolists in the form of middle -men, and 
speculators. Was it not so ? " 

" It 's only too clear that your historians have 
hunted some of our evil tendencies to their 
holes." 

" Moreover, you seem to have taken no steps 
to make country life attractive. The cities ab- 
sorbed everything that was educational or amus- 
ing. Now, the social attractions of the farming 
districts far surpass those of the cities in many 
ways ; while the cities are so numerous and so 
accessible that all the advantages they possess 
are easily obtained by those living in the coun- 
try. Every country village has its pleasure- 
house as well as its public library ; and tele- 
phones and pneumatic tubes make these tributary 
to the city centres." 

" You have pictured, Professor, what appears 
to me quite an ideal state of suburban society ; 
and I begin to understand how successfully you 
have dealt with the question of land monopoly 
and landlordism, that once gave oj)portunities 



122 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

for SO much tyranny in some parts of the workl. 
I shoukl now be glad to know how other kinds 
of property are hekl, and whether you have any 
legal provisions preventing the accumulation of 
vast wealth by individuals or companies, which 
might be detrimental to the public welfare by per- 
mitting selfish control of production and prices." 
" We have no evils of that kind to contend 
against. If any such danger arose, there is law 
enough and righteous public opinion enough to 
root it out at short notice. The public has 
learned to have small patience with individual 
usurpation of any of its privileges and birth- 
rights. The tyrant of individualism has for- 
ever been put down. His hoarded and sluggish 
millions are now the lively small coins of the 
populace, begetting a hundredfold in the hands 
of an intelligent and industrious people. Cus- 
tom is still a leading force that governs men, 
but custom founded on probity is now the rule 
of life ; and business ethics are so firmly 
grounded among us that any infraction of our 
well - established custom s would subject the of- 
fender to a prompt and effectual reprimand 
from his fellows. This is generally sufficient to 
bring avarice to its senses ; but in j^laces where 
moral evolution is less complete than with us 
here, — and there are such places, — laws of lim- 
itation and restraint are brought into action. 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 123 

Such laws include provisions for a special tax 
on individual possessions judged unduly great, 
which are designed ultimately to re-absorb into 
the public purse any incomes that are excessive 
beyond all reason." 

" In spite of all the precautions you take, do 
you never have anything like famine or great 
scarcity ? " 

"Famine — never; and scarcity is rare. The 
general average of production throughout the 
world varies but little ; and any surplus is so 
easily stored and so perfectly preserved that 
there is really no part of the world that need go 
hungry. There have been occasions when de- 
structive fires or floods, and especially those in- 
terfering with means of communication, have 
resulted in want in certain districts before the 
outside world could lend assistance ; yet such 
disasters are extremely rare and only tempo- 
rary." 

"But your crops must sometimes fail?" 

" Yes, sometimes in certain sections, but never 
in all. So far as drouths are concerned, human 
agencies are competent to prevent much dam- 
age so long as rivers continue to flow ; but the 
destructive effects of early frosts or of excessive 
rainfall are still beyond our control, and these 
occasionally cause temporary disturbance in sup- 
plies. But the usual surplus is supposed to be 



124 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

ample to meet contingencies of this kind for at 
least a year in advance ; and attention is imme- 
diately directed to adopting special measures 
for snppl3ang the deficit." 

" Of course, Professor, many other questions 
are suggested to me by what you have already 
explained. May I ask a few ? " 

" As many as you jDlease." 

*' Do the farmers own their homes and other 
buildings, and have any legal tenure on the 
lands the}'' occupy ? " 

" The lands are simply leased by the Govern- 
ment to the occupants, who hold them as long as 
they please by paying a certain stipulated rental. 
They erect their own homes and farm-buildings." 

"Some of these newly -improved lands of 
which you have spoken must be wonderfully 
productive. How does the Government secure 
an appropriate return ? " 

" If the improvements are made by the Gov- 
ernment, the return is derived from increased 
rental. If made by the occupant, the reward 
belongs of course to him. Occupants of infe- 
rior land sometimes appeal to the Government 
for aid in making improvements, on the condi- 
tion of paying a stipulated increase of rental. 
The ordinary rules of business prudence deter- 
mine what shall be done in such cases." 

" And the farmer himself — tell me. Pro- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 125 

fessor, what has become of him, in this process 
of agricultural evolution ? " 

" He has simply taken his proper place in 
Nature's beneficent plan. He is no longer a 
beast of burden. He works still — works more 
industriously than ever before ; but he works 
hopefully, as he was meant to work — with his 
brain as well as his back, as planner and direc- 
tor rather than as brute force. He works intel- 
ligently, with agents that he understands, and 
in the direction of assured results, so that every 
stroke counts. He has trained the forces of 
Nature to do his brute work. He has even 
taught them to relieve his brute companions of 
a large part of what was formerly their accus- 
tomed labor. Oxen no longer painfully drag 
the plough through stony ground ; horses no 
longer pant and quiver under thrice normal 
loads. Steam and electricity and motive forces 
whereof your century had no knowledge now 
form the muscles of the farmer's arms, and 
catch their power from the sun and the winds 
and the tides. The farmer has ceas.ed battling 
with Nature, and taken her into willing copart- 
nership." 

" I suppose there are enough white- weeds and 
beetles to keep him from becoming lazy." 

" Well, pretty much all the weed pests and 
insect pests have either been yoked into service, 



126 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

or left no opportunity for propagation. Even 
the so-called accidents of Nature are now seldom 
complained of, but from them her laws have 
been codified. Knowledge has become power in 
its broadest sense." 

" And pleasure — has that any part in the 
scheme of the forty-ninth century, so far as the 
farmer is concerned ? " 

" Ay ! to an extent that the nineteenth cen- 
tury knew not of. Mr. Prognosis, we have 
learned that willing work, in fields fitted to the 
capacity of the worker, is of itself one of the 
highest forms of pleasure ; and freedom from all 
fear of future want, for himself and members 
of his family, — which is now placed within the 
reach of every man desiring to become a citizen 
— contributes to assure that contentment and 
peace of mind that alone can give to leisure any 
possibility of pleasurable recreation. In brief, 
Mr. Prognosis, and as a sort of parting saluta- 
tion, I am glad to tell you that the experimental 
age in farming is past ; the age of realization 
has come \ the earth blossoms like a rose, and 
man laughs in the rose-field that Nature and he 
have together created. Good-night ! and pleas- 
ant dreams ! " 

" The same to you. Professor. Good - night ! 
Well," muttered Paul, as he prepared for retir- 
ing, "I suppose I might sleep comfortably in 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. Ill 

this strange costume, but it would probably be 
more restful not to. Marco got me into it 
readily enough, but I really need him to help 
me out. Smudge, I don't suppose you can ex- 
plain the mystery, can you ? This must be the 
line of separation. But I find no buttons. Ah ! 
these buckles and snaps no doubt perform the 
same function. Presto ! and in an instant I 
am ready for bed." 

A thought suddenly struck him, and he peered 
cautiously into the looking-glass to observe the 
effect of his new headgear — or lack of it. He 
looked more than once — first solemnly, but 
finally with laughter so immoderate that he 
feared he might disturb the sleeping family. 
" Well," he said, " my admission as a Learned 
Fellow is practically assured. The learned pres- 
ident cannot beat that ! " 



PART III. 

THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 



CHAPTER XV. 

Tlie Library, 

Paul awoke at daybreak thoroughly re- 
freshed, and soon proceeded to the Professor's 
library, where, being of a decidedly bookish 
turn of mind, he longed to acquaint himself 
with the rows of volumes that literally walled 
the room. But to his regret and vexation, he 
found himself a stranger to the pages of printed 
stenography that constituted the bulk of the col- 
lection. However, a little roll of tinfoil, that 
he discovered to be the morning newsj^aper, lay 
upon the table ; and by placing this in the pho- 
nograjjh, with which he was already acquainted, 
he was enabled to listen to its news, as if spoken 
by a person face to face with him. 

Then again he began to examine the treasures 
on the shelves, and was happy to find that many 
compartments contained rolls similar to the 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 129 

newspaper, which needed only the phonograph 
to give them voice. Among these he came 
across one entitled : " History of the Rise and 
Fall of the Republic of Washington." " Rise 
and Fall ! " he repeated, emphasizing the last 
word. " That is news indeed — the saddest news 
that I could hear. But ought I to be surprised ? 
Was it not written on the wall, even in my 
time ? Let us see how it begins." And here 
are the observations with which the chronicle 
opened : — 

" In the history of the rise and fall of nations, 
there are, in many instances, periods of such 
brilliancy and beauty that they shine out from 
the records of time like beacon lio'hts along: the 
shore. Such a period is the one wherein the 
Republic of Washington was established. Ifc 
marked an important era in the progress of en- 
franchisement. It was the work of a noble band 
of reformers, whose standard was self-govern- 
ment. Before proceeding to describe it, the 
careful student of history should recall one uni- 
versal fact that is a necessary preliminary to cor- 
rectly understanding its lesson, which is briefly 
this. During and preceding all periods of unu- 
sual national prosperity and mental activity, that 
always denote the working out of some great 
public question, when representative men rise to 
proud eminence, we may always expect to find 



130 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

a high standard of public virtue. Whether the 
form of government be simple or comj)lex, 
whether a dynasty or a democracy, whether the 
ruling powers be many or few, we ever find that 
public spirit is ennobled by a lofty ideal, and 
that the representatives of that ideal are men 
notable for a high degree of unselfishness, manly 
integrity, and exalted ambition. 

" On the other hand, the existence of a people 
characterized by a low ideal and by leaders who 
are notorious for double-dealing, faithlessness, 
and treachery, clearly marks a period of decay, 
which is invariably followed by moral torpor, 
then feverish unrest, revolution, chaos, and 
finally by reorganization on a foundation of 
greater simplicity and stability. The biogra- 
phies of individuals who have been leaders are 
chiefly instructive because they present a key 
to the character of the public and condition of 
public morals of which they are the outgrowth. 
No ruler is a tyrant till he is backed by a public 
spirit of tyranny ; no leader can be lawless un- 
less he is the exponent of a lawless public spirit ; 
no leader can be the characterization of dishon- 
esty and fraud unless he is inspired and sup- 
ported by a public spirit that is likewise contam- 
inated. As wise and powerful governments have 
been created, so also have they gone to their 
downfall — by reason of the combined and long- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 131 

continued influences of every act of every indi- 
vidual composing the population. Upon every 
such unit, every such individual person, rests in 
due pro2:>ortion the resj)onsibility of rise and fall, 
progress or degeneracy, on the part of a people." 

*' Ah ! " sighed Paul, '^ I have no heart to 
read more. If this rule be founded on the eter- 
nal verities, and I believe it is, what else could 
be the meaning of the flaming horizon down 
which the setting sun of the nineteenth century 
sank, than just what the title of this fatal his- 
tory indicates ? I do not need to hear the de- 
tails. I will not hear them I We kept hoping 
for a prophet to arise. Perhaps he spoke, but 
we hearkened not. We were disposed to lay 
the blame on our leaders ; but while each man 
attended selfishly to his own petty cares and de- 
sires, content to be served, and had no time and 
no desire to serve others, what could we expect 
of those whom we exalted to our high places, 
but that they also should be creatures of sel- 
fishness, fashioned after the shape of those by 
whom they were fathered. Alas ! and alas ! for 
the aspirations of those who hoped against hope 
in those evil days ! " 

The next phonograph he took up proved to be 
a compendium of common law, which was not 
attractive to him. " But what is this drawer 
devoted to ? — the largest in the room. Phvsics. 

O 1 



132 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

All ! now I am more at home. Here is the 
pith of the accumulated research and wisdom of 
thirty centuries. Oh, for time to study these 
rare records ! I will just see what this tape has 
to say. It seems rather abstruse — this opening 
observation : — 

" ' The ether of space is primordial matter in 
equilibrium. Its tendency to expansion is equal 
to the cohesion of its atoms. It is residual 
matter from which systems have been formed. 
Being continuous throughout space, and having 
no centres of concentration excepting at the 
widely separated nebulous clouds, it is practi- 
cally free from the effects of gravitation. So 
small is the mass of matter that constitutes sys- 
tems, as compared with the space whence it has 
been gathered, that if the sun and all its planets 
were to expand and again fill the space they once 
occupied, the space reaching to the mid-regions 
between us and the other systems, the result 
would be as if a mustard seed should swell until 
its atoms occupied a space forty miles in diam- 
eter. By this figure we can realize the tenuity 
of primordial matter, and understand the rea- 
sons of the wide separation of the stellar cen- 
tres.' 

" Well, well ! " said Paul, " this is a rather 
vague beginning, but I am evidently going to find 
a feast before me. Ah I here is a tape devoted 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 133 

to electricity. I wonder if they have solved 
the secrets of that subtle wonder. Qh, yes ! but 
pretty much all the words in which the story 
is told are new to me. I see I shall have to go 
to school again, and begin in the primary class, 
before I can understand much about the modern 
development of the sciences. I suppose I ought 
to be somewhat discouraged, but I do not feel 
so. ' More ! ' and ever ' More ! ' is the scientist's 
cry. This next alcove is evidently devoted to 
astronomy. What splendid atlases ! And some, 
of these, I see, have titles and inscriptions which 
I am able to read. I suppose they are covmted 
among the ancient works. Here 's ' The Plan- 
etary Systems of the Three Principal Stars in 
the Belt of Orion,' and ' The Age of the Sun and 
Promise of its Future,' and ' Mean Temperature 
of the Tropical Regions of Mars, and Average 
Humidity of its Atmosphere.' Treasures upon 
treasures ! What a house of knowledge I am 
now privileged to visit, where the seers of the 
past are prepared, at bidding, to step forth and 
solve all mysteries of the physical universe ! 
Time ! time ! give me but time and continued use 
of my mental faculties, and here will I satisfy 
some of my hunger for solid facts." 

At this point the Professor entered, with a 
cheerful " Good-morning, friend Prognosis. I 
see you are also an early bird. I heard you mov- 



134 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

ing about, and guessed what you were doing. 
But I fear you find some difficulty in getting 
at the meaning of our most recently printed 
books. Let me help you. Don't speak of it as 
trouble — it will give me pleasure. To begin 
with, the title of the book you hold in your hand 
is * Natural History and Destiny of Man,' — 
here 's what you called evolution, carried several 
strides further than you ever imagined ; the 
next is ' The True Social State as it now exists, 
compared with that of Former Times,' — which 
may sound mysterious, but it 's sufficiently sug- 
gestive; this is 'Best Method of Checking Pop- 
ulation within Reasonable Limits.' That sounds 
startling to you, no doubt, but it 's a proposition 
we have been forced to meet. In your time, 
war, pestilence, famine, and unchecked diseases 
of many kinds, were agencies that amply per- 
formed the task ; but, such are the sanitary pro- 
visions of the present time, that the world would 
soon be overstocked were it not for wisely ad- 
justed limitations. Life may now be regarded 
as a privilege. 

" Here in this next alcove are sets of encyclo- 
pedias, in which the sum total of knowledge in 
certain important branches of study is presented 
in brief. Here we find ' Flora and Fauna, Past 
and Present ; ' and here, a huge set of volumes 
with the single title ' Modes,' — not fashions, 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON'. 135 

please understand, but the best possible modes 
and processes applicable to all mechanical arts, 
as epitomized from the annual reports of the 
Central Bureau of Demonstration. This series 
includes the matter from the final reports of that 
learned body, which is a kind of court of last re- 
sort; and, as the publication of each book is de- 
layed for many years after they have completed 
their investigations, so as to eliminate errors and 
reconsider allied questions that the public may 
propose, the review of each subject, as here pre- 
sented, may be considered exhaustive and final. 
Specialists of the highest talent throughout the 
world have been engaged, for centuries past, in 
carrying forward the comparative and demon- 
strative tests of which these books are the out- 
come ; and they therefore show, so far as it is 
possible for the human intellect to understand, 
the best possible methods of securing all mate- 
rials and forces that nature affords, and apply- 
ing them to the needs of mankind." 

"As I understand you," said Paul, "this, 
then, is the expressed substance of all possible 
invention, filtered, refined, and concentrated, and 
finally bottled in this compact form for ready 
reference." 

" Exactly." 

" But how many occupations are thereby dis- 
pensed with! Where are the inventors now? — 



136 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

that great army of dreamei's and experimenters, 
poor as church mice, yet buoyed by hope though 
a hundred times disappointed in accomplish- 
ment — working tirelessly day and night, starv- 
ing themselves and their families, yet always 
filled with glad visions of future wealth and lei- 
sure ; and then^ at last, when their labors were 
crowned with success and they joyfully gave the 
world a new rung in its ladder of up>vard prog- 
ress " — 

^^ What then?" 

" Then — having the mortification of seeing 
some man of business, the handler, reap their 
reward, — and, too often, even the honor, — while 
the patient worker, out of pocket and out at the 
elbows, went ruefully in search of something 
new. And what have become of the patent offi- 
cials, patent solicitors, patent lawyers, patent 
swindlers ? Well, well ! some of those could be 
dispensed with and yet give the public no incon- 
venience." 

'^ The patent system was long ago outgrown. 
Its usefulness vanished as soon as the age of sci- 
ence supplanted the age of guesswork and exper- 
iment. The age of mechanical discovery is now 
practically past." 

" Then you must miss one of the joys of life. 
Professor, I have myself been an inventor and a 
patentee, and I know what it means. It is a 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 187 

rare pleasure to aceomplisli what no one else was 
ever before able to accomplish — to see a dream 
gradually develop mto a solid reality, to see the 
world first sniff at it and then snatch at it, and 
to know that the creation of your mind has be- 
come every man's servant and benefactor. Even 
though the shrewd man of business might reap 
all pecuniary benefit, he could no more deprive 
the inventor of this proud satisfaction, than the 
book publisher or picture dealer to-day can de- 
fraud the poet or artist of his joy of paternity." 

"But we have no cause for inventors now." 

" So I understand. But again I ask : What 
has become of those peculiar powers of the hu- 
man mind that were formerly directed to the 
duty of conquering the world of matter? AVith- 
out war, the art of war must be lost and the 
sword must rust in its scabbard." 

" True ; but" it is better so." 

"Is it better that any faculty of the mind 
should be lost or dwarfed ? " 

" No ; but it may be directed to wiser and 
more beneficent uses. Nature dispenses with 
useless members, and preserves and magnifies 
others. The eyes of caverned fishes disappear, 
while those of the hawk are sharpened by neces- 
sity. Use broadens a single toe and claw until 
they become the iron-like hoof of the horse, while 
disuse shrinks and shrivels the companion mem- 



138 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

bers until no external trace remains. You must 
understand that, under the favorable conditions 
which now surround the human race, all powers 
for evil are crippled, while those for good are 
given every possible opportunity for develop- 
ment. The ' survival of the fittest,' which was 
a new by-word in your day, is now a gospel. The 
sword of war may rust, and well it may ; but the 
bloodless mace of peace has a mission much more 
fitting and nobler far. The energies that your 
inventors too often wasted in profitless hide-and- 
seek with the powers of nature are now directed 
toward perfecting instruments of every kind for 
enriching human lives. Our workers no longer 
feel their way and stumble blindly among un- 
known materials and forces, inflicting public in- 
jury in ignorant attempts to chain giant forces, 
as your electricians too often did ; but we now 
walk forw^ard by straight and familiar paths to 
desired ends. Please try to understand, Mr. 
Prognosis, that the age you called ' Mechanical ' 
we now refer to as ' Experimental.' Your most 
knowing: scientist would find himself ill at ease 
in to-day's primary class in mechanics." 

Paul said nothing more on this subject. 
What could he say ? . 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Tlie Downfall of Old Forms. 

" By the way," said the Professor, " this crys- 
tal ornament on the lapel of my coat must have 
often excited your curiosity, though you have 
modestly refrained from questioning me in re- 
gard to it even when I have alluded to it. You 
will find this symbol, as well as the apple blos- 
som, repeated in one or another form in nearly 
all our modern art works, and you might think 
it some talisman, some remnant from the age 
of superstition, if I gave you no explanation 
of its meaning. Like the apple blossom, — 
which, in its season, is used as a like emblem, — 
it recalls an event in the world's history which 
was in the nature of a crusade, and which led 
ultimately to the possibility of establishing a 
Council of Nations and inaugurating the period 
of universal peace. It symbolizes an object that 
apj)ealed to the sympathies of all men and wo- 
men, without reference to the particular religious 
beliefs held by them, or lacked by them, and thus 
afforded common ground for the adoption of an 



140 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

ideal and inspiration that should be universal. 
Until you understand the token of this white 
button, you cannot understand the secret springs 
that animate modern civilization." 

" You of course greatly interest me, sir, al- 
though I have no idea to v^^hat you refer." 

" The whole subject is explained quite fully 
in this book, and it would well repay your care- 
ful reading ; but it is unfortunately printed in 
our modern characters, which are, of course, like 
black-letter to you. However, during the hour 
before breakfast I can give you a general con- 
ception of the main facts, if you like." 

'' There is nothing I should like better." 

*' Excepting to find your home." 

" I am even willing that my home should be 
lost for a little while longer, if I can thereby 
gain knowledge of a secret apparently so pre- 
cious." 

" There is no secret about it. It is simple his- 
tory. Well, the book is entitled ' The Crystal 
Button.' That sounds somewhat sensational, 
does n't it ? — as if an estray, in the form of an 
amorous poem, might have elbowed its way into 
my rather serious collection. But you will find 
nothing more serious in this room. The open- 
ing chapters describe in detail the general down- 
fall of the European monarchies, which tumbled 
at last like a row of blocks." 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 141 

" All tliis is new to me." 

" Yes, I know ; but it happened not long af- 
ter your time. And j'ou must have seen abun- 
dant handwriting on the wall. You must have 
known the natural and inevitable results of such 
an artificial state of society, such foolish sec- 
tional pride, and such a preposterous attitude of 
governmental forces, as then existed in Europe. 
Why, there before your eyes, with its plaints 
ever in your ears, groveled a noble continent, 
packed with intelligent and industrious people, 
who, for reasons we are unable to understand, 
permitted their hardly-earned substance to be 
mainly devoted to the worse than useless pur- 
pose of supporting great armies of idlers, whom 
you dignified by the name of soldiers, whose 
only object was to perpetually menace and chal- 
lenge neighboring nations. These armies, please 
remember, were composed of their ablest-bodied 
and most capable workingmen, and, not only was 
no use made of them, but they were supported 
in idleness by those who really worked, and sup- 
plied with the costliest of all luxuries — military 
armaments. Why, Europe might much better 
have transported, for the time being, its young 
and middle-aged men thus enrolled, and thereby 
saved the cost of their maintenance. The 
women and children would have fared better in 
their absence, and could then have lived in peace. 



142 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" Such waste of men and means could not, 
of course, go on forever. When one nation 
lengthened or strengthened its walls, all the 
others were compelled to do the same ; and, the 
broader its op^^ortunities, the more onerous be- 
came its responsibilities. In those days, the very 
pride and strength of a nation meant its weak- 
ness. The growing disease pointed its own 
cure. Pride's pocket-book was at last emptied. 
Military glory was attacked in the rear, and 
compelled to droop its banners. It then lost its 
hold on the public sentiment. Then, suddenly, 
public opinion took in hand its gorgeous rega- 
lia, gave it a single hearty shake, — and there 
came an end of it all. What had appeared to 
rule the destinies of Europe was discovered to 
be merely the straw-stuifed jacket of a field 
scarecrow, hoisted on a stick. The stick re- 
moved, its backbone was gone ; and it came to 
ground in a disordered heap. Glittering ar- 
mies melted like frost pictures on a pane, and 
puppet princes became hunted outcasts ; while 
democracy calmly proceeded to sweep from the 
boards every rag that royalty left behind, and 
set up in their place the simple modern system 
of government by the people. 

" We say that the mills of the gods grind 
slowly ; but it now seems strange that men did 
not sooner lend a hand to make them grind 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 143 

somewliat faster. Certainly, society now has 
more intelligent knowledge of its powers, a 
deeper sense of its responsibilities, and far higher 
faith in its destiny. We now read, as a piece 
of grim humor, the statements of your historians 
that Europe, when first liberated, laid the fault 
of all its woes on the shoulders of its princes. 
That is a kind of philosophy we do not counte- 
nance. Your princes were but flesh-and-blood 
men till public opinion raised them to thrones 
and bolstered them there. As soon as public 
opinion removed its artificial props, down came 
the princes — somewhat less than men. This is 
a chapter in your painful history which is hardly 
comprehensible to us." 

'* When do you say all this happened ? " 

*' I do not now recall the precise date, but it 
was not long after the two Americas had pro- 
claimed democracy." 

" And England — did even England have to 
succumb ?" 

" The English monarchy did. The only won- 
der is that her wise men did not act sooner." 

"AndKussia?" 

" She was the last and most stubborn. But 
no power on earth can withstand the assaults of 
public opinion when thoroughly aroused to ac- 
tion. Well, in the midst of the chaos, and con- 
fusion, and biting poverty that followed the 



144 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

monarohical downfall in Europe, and by reason 
of the resulting shock that electrified the world's 
conscience, there arose a new reformer, a new 
prophet, with the simj^lest of all doctrines on 
his lips, the most cheerful of gospels, and a 
manly earnestness of manner that made him 
brother to all men." 

" You say, Professor, that he came by reason 
of the shock. Does the modern mind look upon 
prophets as the outcome of emergencies ? " 

" Just that. To have a prophet, there must 
be prophecy in the air — that is, a general desire 
and expectancy on the part of the public ; and 
then some great public need must arise to sum- 
mon him to the front. A prophet is merely the 
mouthpiece of the public's highest and best 
hope, when, for some reason, that hope must be 
voiced. You may think it strange that any man 
of the twentieth century should have been able 
to catch inspiration sufficient to place him high 
among the world's prophets. If so, that is sim- 
ply because you failed to understand your times. 
They were times of ferment. Education was 
sufficiently general so that the masses began to 
understand their power, but they were not yet 
skilled in exercising it wisely. Although capa- 
ble of all things, they effected comparatively lit- 
tle excepting to discourage old forms. But that 
was no doubt a needful preliminary. For the 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 145 

time being tliey lacked what all men then lacked 
to a fatal degree — moral stamina. In your 
great labor revolts, the reason for their frequent 
failure was not lack of strength — there was su- 
perabundance of that. It was because your 
workingmen, as you seem to have called your 
masses, — now, all of us are proud to be known 
as workingmen, — were inspired by no better 
principles than those against which they re- 
volted. They demanded independence, but, 
when they had it in their hands, it too often be- 
came lust for gain — honest gain if practicable, 
but gain anyhow ! Their leaders wrung privi- 
leges from those above them, only to deny the 
same privileges to those below them. The 
vice of/ the age was in every man's veins — idol- 
atry of mone}^ Till that idol was dashed from 
its pedestal, there could be no hope of the reor- 
ganization of society on any basis of permanent 
improvement. 

" Such were the conditions of universal chaos 
that opened the way for the prophet of the 
twentieth ('entur}^ Who should raise the new 
banner under which the world could reform its 
broken ranks ? In his make-up, it was evident 
that at least three conditions would be de- 
manded. He must possess such knowledge of 
the lessons taught by past as well as current ex- 
perience, that his point of view should cut a 



146 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

semicircle behind him as broad as the world's 
history. He must then be drawn by the guid- 
ing star of a single idea, and that idea must be 
a moral lesson of some kind, which should so 
possess his own soul as to make him wholly un- 
selfish in all his motives, and give him the fear- 
less and untiring devotion of a heaven-inspired 
enthusiasm. He must also be one of the people, 
familiar with all their hopes and sorrows, and 
yet lacking the vices and prejudices common to 
his fellow -men. But how was this condition 
possible ? It seemed impossible. Yet, as events 
finally turned, the challenge for such a leader 
was answered by a man in whom great sorrow 
and mental shock had so purged all selfish con- 
cerns of life that he was practically freed from 
all the limitations of his day. In brief, all three 
conditions were fulfilled in the person of John 
Costor, whose life and work I will now try to 
briefly describe." 



CHAPTER XVn. 

Ap^arance of John Costor, The Apostle of 

Truth, 

Partly reading, partly conversing, the Pro- 
fessor gave the following summary of the sub- 
Iject. 

Unlike all previous prophets, nothing is un- 
known or in any way mysterious about the bi- 
ography of John Costor. Little of interest oc- 
curred during his early life, but that little he 
freely told, and such were the news facilities 
of the twentieth century that all he told was 
faithfully recorded. We have no legendary lore 
about him. 

He was of Scandinavian parentage, and had 
the strength and devotion characteristic of that 
hardy people, but he was born and bred on the 
Great Lakes of North America, and his early 
life was divided between the cities and the lone- 
liness of the lakeside hills. His frequent refer- 
ences to Niagara Falls, then at its acme of maj- 
esty, now past, give evidence that he caught 
some of his inspiration from early familiarity 
with that mouthpiece of nature. 



148 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

He passed his early manhood in outdoor labor 
and wholesome obscurity ; but he was a careful 
observer and intelligent reader, and was justly 
considered a leading authority on questions per- 
taining to political and natural liistor}^ His 
mind had been bent in these directions by the 
early teachings of his father, who was a school- 
teacher, and the son proved his ablest scholar. 
He finally married, moved into the new country 
of the northwest, and made a thrifty home for 
his wife and children. Although commonly 
counted a silent man, he is represented as hav- 
ing been peculiarly boyish and merry when in 
the society of his family, in whose welfare then 
centred his every life-interest. 

One night, while he was absent from home, 
his wife and children and several near relatives 
were murdered b}' Indians, who were then in re- 
volt against the Government of Washington and 
consequently against all its white people, on the 
ground that solemn pledges had been broken 
and treaties trampled upon whenever the wishes 
of the whites came in conflict with those of their 
humble wards. 

It was on a June morning when he returned 
on horseback, singing a ballad and filled with 
glad anticipations. In the place of house and 
home and family, he found a heap of ashes and 
the charred remains of his loved ones. The 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 149 

shock was too much for even his powerful organ- 
izatiou. When his neighbors found him, he sat 
beside the grave of his wife, that he had heaped 
with apple blossoms, holding a crystal orna- 
ment he had taken from her neck, and saying : 
" Even as you have always been the soul of 
truth, so this bit of clear crystal is an image 
of your spirit." For many weeks he was like 
one distraught, wandering about the ashes of 
his former home as in a dream, muttering : 
" Truth, truth ! All that was mine is sacrificed 
to the ogre of political deceit ! " 

To the astonishment of all who knew him, he 
joined the very band of Indians who had com- 
mitted the crime, and became a trusted compan- 
ion of the chieftain. It was thought by some 
that his mind was gone, and that he was conse- 
quently not responsible for this erratic course, 
while others shook their heads and prophesied 
that his present aim was to discover and 23ursue 
with fearful vengeance the authors of his woe. 
In after years, when an opponent publicly as- 
sailed him with this charge, he silenced it with 
the simple declaration : '' In Truth's name, it 
was as you say. I then lived in darkness such 
as I trust you may never know, but it was dark- 
ness that preceded a brighter daydawn with a 
broader horizon. I have put night behind me. 
In Truth's name, my friend, let us now join 



150 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

hands to lead the world into sunshine." And 
he who was an opponent became a life long co- 
worker with Costor in his great labor of love. 

It was afterward learned that the chieftain 
whom the stricken man joined was indebted to 
the elder Costor for some great boon in early 
life and also for a winter's home and schooling. 
When he learned that his braves were the mur- 
derers of his friend's family, he bared his breast 
and said : " Let the blow fall here. But spare 
my people. Tlieir homes, like yours, are gone. 
The whites were to blame, but you were not to 
blame." Then Costor joined hands with the 
chief, and with him went into exile among the 
hills. 

So it was that, for five years, nothing was 
heard of John Costor ; and such was the rapid 
succession of excitins: events then attractins: 
public attention that his life -tragedy was well- 
nigh forgotten. But a wonderful work of prep- 
aration was going on in that remote Indian 
camp. The lonely white man became like one 
who has ascended a mountain-top to commune 
directly with the sun and stars. In the simpli- 
city of the lives of his new friends, wherein the 
struggle for food was the foremost object of all 
action, he read anew the story of humanity. 
Stripped of all robes with which civilization of 
the nineteenth century covered its moral de- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 151 

formities, he found iu his mates men whose only 
cry was " Food ! " This was also the beast's 
cry. But these were not beasts. In some of 
their impulses they seemed more admirable in 
his eyes than the more polished offsprings of the 
cities. In many instances they showed themselves 
more truthful. This native chief of the tribe, 
royal in face and bearing, resolute, untiring in 
labor, and frank to a degree that perhaps had no 
equal among the state rulers of his day — what 
was his true position in the scale of human de- 
velopment? Might he not hold a higher rank 
than some of his more fortunate white brothers, 
whose civilization was a word of contempt in 
his ears ? In this retired world of introspec- 
tion, attracted and finally won by the simplicity 
of his new friends, and with conscience pricked 
to do some good deed to them and to the world, 
in reparation for the act of revenge he had pur- 
posed, John Costor finally caught the seed of an 
insj^iration which, in the mighty march of events, 
was destined to fill the world with blossom and 
fruit. " By Heaven ! " he one day exclaimed, as 
he gazed on the crystal button he always wore, 
" in all that 1 find fair, it is truth that makes it 
so. And all that is wicked and miserable and 
unhappy shows untruth in some form scowling 
beneath its mask, however painted and gilded. 
All that was dear to me in this life was sacri- 



152 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON: 

ficecl to the ogre of iintrnth and its broken 
pledges. I now stand alone in the world, with 
eyes opened and with hands -free. The world, 
smitten by the results of its errors, awaits a new 
spring of action. It is clear to me that here 
we have it. I now devote myself to the sacred 
cause of Truth. By her ministrations, and by 
hers alone, can the world hope to find clues 
leading to prosperity and happiness ! " 

When Costor emerged from his obscurity, he 
was well prepared for the solemn duty to which 
he had dedicated himself. His mind was thor- 
oughly imbued with a deep sense of the wide- 
spread evils resulting from falsehood, deceit, and 
all forms of injustice. He rightfully believed 
that, if every man could be induced by any 
means to lead a life of absolute truthfulness and 
simple honesty, all forms of injustice and wrong 
would in time be swept away. The many tan- 
gles of belief and theory that held men in bond- 
age or antagonism, he sought not to unravel. 
"Time will cure these errors," he said, "if truth 
continues to be the constant watchword." 

Thus, a stranger and unannounced, Costor 
appeared one day in the suburb of one of the 
great cities, and began to speak. It was at a 
time near the anniversary of his great sorrow. 
The apple-tree that shaded him as he spoke was 
a snowdrift of white and pink bloom. He held 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 153 

a spray of it in one hand, and in the other, the 
crystal button which formed the text of his dis- 
course. He told his story with simplicity but 
strength. There was nothing at all remarkable 
about the beoinnino- he made. It was a small 
beginning, and its growth was slow. 

After a while, when he became a little more 
sure of himself, he entered the city, and began 
a seines of rather homely but very direct and 
forcible addresses. Here his audience speedily 
increased. His subject was always the same — 
Truth. The silent man was gradually finding 
a tonofue, and it was soon admitted that such 
a tongue never before spake the English lan- 
guage. In debate, he was like a trumpet voice 
from the sky, whose every word thrilled his 
heai-ers to their very souls. His audience be- 
gan to include all classes, rich and poor, and 
educated as well as illiterate. " Truth, truth, 
truth ! " was ever the topic of his discourse, but 
he was never-failing in his resources for freshly 
presenting it. He discreetly avoided all men- 
tion of religion or politics or philosophy, but 
vkept the same clear note forever resounding. 
He never generalized, but addressed himself to 
every hearer as an individual, saying: "I 
speak the gospel of Truth, which means peace J 
on earth and good-will toward men. Let every * 
man be true to himself and to his fellow-men, 



154 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

and Eden will as^ain blossom on the earth. I 
have no word to tell you of the life hereafter, 
for I do not know, — but this I do know, that 
untruth is the serpent whose poison now taints 
every fountain of private and public life. Scotch 
that snake in the grass, and law will then mean 
justice, power will mean ability, work will mean 
abundance, and duty well done will crown all 
with happiness." Such was the general current 
of his thoughts. 

Here, again, he is quoted as saying : " Let us 
now reason together aloud, just as each one has 
no doubt reasoned by himself, in agony of soul, 
when there was none to give comfort. I believe 
that I can give you comfort, — no, not give it to 
you, but give you the secret by which you can 
gain the boon, if you will only do your part. 

" Each man of us is capable of living a larger 
and better and happier life than he has thus far 
known. I believe this, — I know this. Why, 
then, do we continue to suffer ? It is not merely 
because we have to work. Work does not mean 
unhappiness. Work of the right kind, and in 
right quantity, and with the right recompense, 
is what you and I and all of us want and de- 
mand, in order to take a first step toward happi- 
ness. If any man now within reach of my voice 
is afraid of work, let him understand that I 
have nothing to offer in answer to his cravings. 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 155 

I speak as one worker to another. If you are 
that other, hearken ! and I will try to make my 
voice the voice of your conscience, even as it is 
of my own. 

" Each one of us is capable of a higher des- 
tiny. Each one of us really loves truth, virtue, 
and the performance of kindly offices. All men 
love these qualities in others, and are even ready 
to worship them as godlike attributes. Why, 
then, is man denied the full enjoyment of these 
and other ennobling virtues, which are neces- 
sary to his happiness on this earth ? 

" Is it not because he feels he must protect 
himself by a defensive armor of caution, tem- 
pered with suspicion, and reinforced by a hel- 
met of secrecy and a shield of deceit ? He fears 
evil ways in others, and proves by frequent ex- 
perience that his fears are well founded. He 
would be glad to have faith in his fellow-men, 
but even his childhood was made unhappy by 
wounds from the arrows of deceit. Do you re- 
member the first time you ever detected any one 
in an untruth ? It may have been a brother, a 
trusted friend, — it may even have been a par- 
ent. Can you now recall the shudder that tlien 
ran through your whole being? In that very 
hour you were cast out of Eden. You then 
looked into the serpent's eyes, and it was Eden 
no longer. Do you shudder now when the ser- 



156 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

pent's hiss of untruth sounds at your side ? Do 
you recognize it as a hiss ? Do you not some- 
times admire it in others and even cultivate it 
in yourself, as one of the weapons, one of the 
diplomacies, of current life, necessary if one 
would keep his place in the moving phalanx? 
Is it not a fact, to-day, that man's ordinary in- 
tercourse with his neighbor and even with his 
closest friend, however pleasantly conducted, is 
marked by considerations that ought only to 
find expression between open enemies? 

" Where lies the blame ? Of course it is easy 
to say that such unworthy phases of human 
character are inherited from the barbarism of 
past ages ; that they have been kept alive and 
nourished by the degenerating influences of war- 
fare and the animosities growing out of fanati- 
cal differences of creed. When our consciences 
are pricked, we are all too ready to anoint the 
wound with excuses of this sort. W^e also say 
— you and I — that such are the settled customs 
of the world, and we must conform ourselves 
to them, or be pushed to the wall. I ask you, 
ill all honesty : would it not be better, then, to 
be pushed to the wall ? And are we not already 
against the wall ? And are we not constantly 
pushing and drawing others to it, — which is 
much worse? And are there just now in the 
world, where all is chaos, any customs so settled 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 157 

and of the nature of cornerstones that it would 
not be well to search for the flaw of deceit upon 
them, and if it appears, to topple them over, come 
what may? By the eternal verities, my bro- 
thers, I tell you there is nothing stable in thj^ 
universe but Truth ! I tell you that one thing is 
now lacking, and only one thing, and that thing 
is Truth ! The time has come for that new 
and higher and nobler civilization which is man's 
heritage on earth as soon as he is willing to 
grasp it ; and here is the only key to heaven- 
like civilization. I believe it is the civilization 
of Truth that the world now awaits ; and, until 
that is attained, welcome chaos ! 

" The godlike power of creating this new civ- 
ilization of Truth — which is to quell our right- 
eous anger, feed us and our families, give us 
peace, and fill our hearts with contentment and 
happiness — is within the keeping of every man 
before me. Let us look no longer behind us, but 
stop right here and understand that the world's 
to-morrow is the fruit of to-da}^, and that ' the 
world' is only a way of aggregating a great 
number of you's and I's. Your to-morrow and 
my to-morrow is the fruit of our to-day. There 
is nothing on earth to prevent our turning this 
city into ashes before another nightfall, if we — 
the people — will to do it ! But will ashes and 
stones feed the hunger and longing that is now 



158 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

in our souls ? There is nothing on earth or 
in heaven to prevent our making this city a 
brighter and better and more heaven-like place 
before nightfall, if we — the people: you and I — 
will to do it ! What do you say ? Shall it be 
ashes ? You cry No ! Then let us try the other 
way. Never fear the result. Truth must pre- 
vail in the end. What we now want to do is to 
help it prevail at once. 

" Do you ask me how ? Are you really filled 
with a burning desire to know how ? And are 
you willing, eager, to do your part ? To each of 
you, as an individual, I now appeal, and ask 
you to make this promise, not to me, but to your- 
self : ' I will try, from this moment henceforth, 
to be true and honest in my every act, word, 
and thought ; and this crystal button I will wear 
while the spirit of truth abides with me.' 

" That is the ' Truth Promise ' — the begin- 
ning and the end of the gospel I bring you. Do 
you know of any just reason why you should not 
make this promise to yourself ? Is it not worthy 
of any man ? And even if it should not always 
prove easy to keep it, is it not worthy of the best 
efforts of your lives ? If you think so, put the 
button in your coat, and say the words aloud as 
I repeat them : ' / will try ^ from this momeM 
henceforth^ to he true and honest in my every 
act^ word, and thought ; and this crystal button 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 159 

I will wear wJiile the sjm'it of truth abides 
with rneJ 

" But see, my friends, that the button is 
promptly removed whenever you are untrue to 
it. It means something, — it means everything ! 
See that you are not false to that meaning ! 

" This beginning is easy, friends, but the hard 
part is yet to come. Let us now organize socie- 
ties throughout the land, for mutual help and 
encouragement. We must not only thus pledge 
ourselves in the most solemn manner to abstain 
from all falsehood and deceit, but we must help 
others to do the same. That will suffice. All 
other virtues will thrive, if the soil is kept free 
from the weeds of untruth and hypocrisy." 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

The Order of the Crystal Button. 

" Such, in substance," said tlie Professor, 
" were the simple teachings of this latest of the 
prophets, John Costor. There was nothing par- 
ticularly new about them, excepting the burning 
enthusiasm with which they were communicated. 
r am sorry I cannot give you a better idea of the 
peculiar force of his oratory. I have read you 
only a few disconnected extracts from various 
addresses, and I cannot but feel how inadequate 
these are to give you a just conception of the 
man and of his work. 

'^ He simply spoke from a full soul, and labored 
with an untiring devotion only possible in a truly 
crreat reformer. Few listened to him without 
feeling that he was inspired. His skill in trac- 
ing: the chief evils that beset mankind to sources 
that his hearers could not disi3ute was marvel- 
ous in its logic and its power to convince even 
the most cavilous ; but his success as a public 
speaker was due to his profound convictions and 
unceasing work in support of them, rather than 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 161 

to mere novelty of utterance. ' Preaching,' he 
once said, ' moves men as the wind sways the 
branches of forest trees, and its influence is gen- 
erally as transitory. The most impassioned ap- 
peals are soon forgotten. What then ? We 
must organize, bind ourselves individually by the 
stoutest pledges to life action governed solely by 
principles of truth and justice, and then work 
from within outwardlj^' On this basis, he pro- 
ceeded to form, in each city he visited, a local 
society of his followers, who at the start isolated 
themselves to some extent from the rest of the 
world. These societies took strong root and 
flourished mightily. Their form of organization 
was extremely simple, and of a character that 
could challenge no man's prejudices. ' I bring 
you no new doctrine,' he often repeated. ' Think 
what you will, believe what you must, but do 
only that which you know to be right, and all 
will be well ! ' Of course, no man could take 
exceptions to such a doctrine as this. 

" I should add that he always objected to be- 
ing referred to as a ' labor reformer,' although 
he ranks foremost in the long and honorable list. 
His claim was that of a moral teacher, appealing 
to society generally and not to any particular 
class, and he purposely took no cognizance of 
any special subjects of grievance, such as the la- 
bor question then involved, it being hopelessh^ 



162 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

complicated in his day. He confined his atten- 
tion to the sole purpose of establishing a pure 
mode of living and truthful dealing between man 
and man, and expressed his entire confidence 
that this of itself would suffice ultimately to set- 
tle the labor question and all others that were 
vexed, whatever their immediate cause. In this 
expectation he was not disapjjointed. The obser- 
vance of strict truth, honesty, and fidelity re- 
moved all sources of complaint in the field of la- 
bor, as a fresh wind from the sea banishes mist. 

" Well, Mr. Prognosis, as I have described 
Costor's early course of action, this may seem to 
you — it must seem to you — a humble and un- 
23rojnising start for a reorganization of society 
that was destined to revolutionize the world ; but 
such was the result. The ripe seed of moral de- 
velopment was in his hand, and it was winged 
like that of the mountain ash. In the general 
whirlwind of political and social disturbance 
that was then overturning creeds, governments, 
civilizations, this watchword of * Truth ' was 
caught up as the one idea that all men, of what- 
ever nation, or language, or religion, could under- 
stand and take seriously to heart. It was an idea 
that was far from being inert. As events proved, 
it was a heaven-sent seed dropped on fallow soil 
in that period of universal anarchy. 

" Costor was peculiarly energetic and skillful 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 163 

as an organizer, and, as soon as he had assured 
the success of the movement in all the principal 
centres of thought in America, he proceeded to 
Europe, gathered preachers of every tongue and 
representing every phase of popular belief, and 
scattered them as missionaries throughout the 
globe. Never before was a revival so speedy, so 
thorough, or so lasting. As I have said, it was 
promoted through the instrumentality of soci- 
eties, that is, by organization, which underlies 
every form of development in the modern world. 
These societies, local and small at first, raj^idly 
increased in number and membership, giving a 
nucleus around which clustered men and women 
of all shades of all religious beliefs, or lack of 
all, and shedding beneficent moral and social 
influences in every direction. The permanence 
with which these maintained their organization 
was quite remarkable, but it was evidently the 
result of the extreme simplicity and nobility of 
their object. A single, solemn recitation of the 
' Truth Promise ' and wearing of the crystal 
button made any person a member of the local 
society ; and it was finally arranged that a mem- 
ber of one was a member of all. Almost with- 
out exception, such societies prospered and finally 
came into possession of abundant means, yet it is 
not recorded that any theft or defalcation ever 
occurred within the ranks." 



164 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

"And did the societies build great churches ? " 
" It would hardly be correct to apply to them 
that name, in the sense in which you were accus- 
tomed to use it. I should tell you that Costor 
wisely took every possible means to impress the 
public with the fact that his order was not a re- 
ligious organization." 

" Was he, then, prejudiced against religion ? " 
'* Not at all. But he explained that the pre- 
judices existing between religious organizations 
were so frequent and so strong that it seemed 
wise to avoid all complication with religious 
questions. ' It is better to have it clearly under- 
stood at the start,' he once stated, 'that the aim 
of this Order of the Crystal Button is to promote 
the well-being of its members only so far as this 
life is concerned. It does not conflict with any 
religious organization, but it is hoped that all 
members of all churches will feel drawn to en- 
roll themselves with us. If they do not, the 
fault will lie with our own members, in not mak- 
ing the purpose of our order understood. Its 
sole object is to encourage the development of 
truer, nobler, and happier life.' " 

'' What, then, was the character of the build- 
ings erected in the place of churches ? " 

" They are more properly club-houses, which 
are kept open both night and day, and devoted 
to all purposes that mean education or social 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 105 

amusement. The auditorium or lecture-hall is 
merely an incident. Millions of money have been 
devoted to such club-houses, and also to schools, 
hospitals, and all other agencies that promise 
to ease or better the condition of mankind. 

"The moral effects of a strict adherence to 
the new rule of life were such that intercourse 
between members became very attractive, and 
an era of good fellowship began to dawn which 
added much to the enjoyments of life. In the 
course of time, it therefore came about that 
many sought admission by reason merely of the 
social attractiveness of the organization ; while 
to be received into full membership was re- 
garded as one of the highest social honors. 
When this stage was reached, the final success 
of Costor's effort was no longer problematical." 

" But tell me, Profesiior, — am I to under- 
stand that the work of rehumanizinsf mankind 
kept pace with this wovk of reorganizing soci- 
ety ? In the efforts made in my time to better 
the condition of mankmd, it was man himself 
who proved the stumbling-block. Too often he 
did not wish to be helped, — he would n't be 
helped ! " 

" Very true. Costor met the same difficulty, 
and it was by no means overcome in his day. 
But he was not discouraged by that. He used to 
say : ' If we are sure we are on the right path, 



16u THE CliYlSTAL BUTTON. 

we fulfill our duty by keeping to it and drawing 
others to it. The longer and the rougher the 
path, the greater need of making tlie best possi- 
ble speed, and the greater the glory in finally 
attaininsf the ffoal. Let us each do his best to- 
day, and have faith in to-morrow.' As a matter 
of fact, the world mounted slowly to the plane 
it now occupies. Generations passed, centuries 
passed, while the work slowly progressed. But 
the progress was steady. As you have sug- 
gested, humanity often proved itself weak and 
wayward. But Costor had expected that. It 
is recorded that he once expressed himself as 
follows : — 

" ' Humanity — it is its own worse enemy ! In 
the process of impro\ijng plants and the lower 
animals, we have unresisting materials to work 
upon, and results can be calculated with some 
confidence. The production of well-formed 
heads and delicate features in men descended 
from ancestors of the lowest moral condition is 
of necessity a work of many generations. It is 
true that an individual with the head and neck 
of a savage may, by education, acquire the man- 
ners and address of a person of real culture and 
refinement. Even then, tread on his toes, and, 
before he can restrain himself, up leaps the sav- 
age, with the tiger look in his eyes ! In re- 
humanizing degraded humanity, the head must 



TlIK CRYSTAL BUTTON. 167 

be enlarged at certain points, the neck reduced, 
the nose straightened, the cheekbones and jaws 
remodeled. To do all this must require centu- 
ries, even if a single subject, perfectly passive, 
could be freely experimented on throughout 
that period. What, then, is to be done with sub- 
jects short-lived and selfishly inclined, biased by 
superstition, perverted, brutalized, even to the 
point that truth is no longer recognized as 
good.' 

" Costor, you see, well understood all that. 
Yet he was never discouraged, but he pressed 
on bravely with his work, always progressing, 
even when the movement was not apparent. 
The roots of truth, once implanted, showed a 
tenacity that even untruth never had ; and, un- 
der the fostering care of the ' Crystal Buttons,* 
as members of the new guild were called, the 
weeds of society were gradually crowded out. 
Costor lived to see the work of reformation well 
begun ; and his numerous disciples afterward 
developed many wise means of perfecting its 
organization and spreading its growth. From 
small beginnings it steadily grew into a healthy 
tree, whose branches promised to bear fruit that 
should nourish the world." 



CHAPTER XIX. 

The New C'milization, 

*' The centuries rolled on^" continued the Pro- 
fessor, '' and the activities of the Crystal Button 
societies continued to enter into the warp and 
woof of political as well as social life, and give 
a brighter aspect to all. The well-disposed por- 
tions of society throughout the world finally ac- 
cepted the new rule and lived up to its teach- 
ings with more or less fidelity. 

" And now, Mr. Prognosis, we come down to 
the time when the crowning glory of the new 
order of things is at hand, — the accomplish- 
ment of permanent and universal peace among 
men. Naturally enough, the initial movement 
in this direction came from the Costorians, 
whose clear-sighted leader had long before pre- 
dicted this as an outcome of the principles he 
taught, when they should be sufficiently de- 
veloped. Indeed, he had constantly urged his 
followers, and especially his teachers, to work 
steadily toward this end. 

" When, in the judgment of the leaders of 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 169 

the order, a suitable opportunity offered, they 
issued a call for a council of all nations to be 
held in the interests of peace. Such had be- 
come the influence of the allied societies, and 
such was their world-wide distribution, that this 
call met with a prompt and favorable response 
from every nation addressed, most of which 
were democracies, and having Costorians of 
high-standing in nearly all positions of trust. 
The council assembled at the great city of 
Carrefour, located on the isthmus midway be- 
tween the two Americas, whither the fleets and 
railways found easy access from all parts of the 
globe. Perfect harmony attended the sessions 
of this remarkable congress ; and, before the 
sittings were ended, a plan was adopted and 
signed by every representative present, which 
promised, and in fact accomplished, the total ex- 
tinction of warfare between nations. This en- 
actment was afterward approved by every gov- 
ernment, and even some of the savage tribes 
gave their hands to the solemn compact. An 
international police was maintained for some 
years to check any lawless tribes that might fail 
to keep their pledges, but the event proved that 
even these were unnecessary, as the disturbances 
of the peace that occurred subsequent to the ac- 
tion of the congress were few, and easily quelled 
by local authorities. A Court of Arbitration for 



170 TUE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

each of the grand divisions of the world was 
shortly afterward established, for the purpose of 
deciding any disputed questions presented at 
their annual sittings ; while those of interna- 
tional character were referred by such courts to 
the Grand Council of All Nations, whose deci- 
sions were final. Ample opportunity for discus- 
sion was thus allowed, but none for controvers3^ 

" Peace at last ! The new era had dawned ! 
Those who have experienced the cheer that fol- 
lows reconciliation after long estrangement from 
former friends, when mutual trust and cordiality 
once more take the place of cold reserve and 
jealous watchfulness, will understand the out- 
burst of unspeakable joy that resounded through- 
out the world as the glad tidings were flashed 
over the wires that the great act, so long hoped 
for, had finally been consummated. Through 
the successive ages of stone, iron, bronze, and 
silver, civilization had finally passed to the at- 
tainment of its crystal age of Truth. 

'' Thus it was that the Crystal Button con- 
quered the world. Thus it was that, from the 
ashes of thrones and false altars which had been 
cast down, arose a single pillar of crystal, to 
which all nations looked up with fresh hope. 
The hope was not disappointed. It rejuvenated 
the human race." 

" This, then," said Paul, " is the keystone of 
your present blessed civilization." 



TEE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 171 

" Keystone, arch, foundations, — all ! The 
time for the moral reformation had come, and 
' Truth ' was its watchword. Art had given the 
world all the instruction it had in its keeping : 
truth in the representation of outward nature, 
which means beauty. Science had taught its 
lesson : truth in the understanding of nature's 
methods. But moral truth was still lacking*. 

" You see, Mr. Prognosis, we are now accus- 
tomed to divide historv into three distinct stagfes 
of development. The earlier civilizations we 
call ' the first ' and ' the second,' and our own 
' the modern.' The first and second were sec- 
tional and partial, and they were not sufficiently 
grounded on fixed principles to maintain a con- 
tinuous existence ; while ours is complete and 
universal, — or rather, I should say, it is des- 
tined to be. It has placed the human race on 
the direct road to its highest development, and 
is based rather on moral than intellectual quali- 
ties. 

'' The achievements of former ages may be 
briefly classed as follows : the first civilization 
developed art, architecture, and literature ; the 
second, music, mechanism, and science ; and the 
modern, peace, social order, and permanent 
government. As you study further, you will 
not fail to see that we are rich in inheritance 
from the great minds of the past, to which we 



172 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

have added the remarkable moral progress that 
has resulted from the reformation first started 
by John Costor. It was moral tone that you 
chiefly lacked in the nineteenth and twentieth 
centuries. It was the general want of truth, 
not only in act, but in thought and sentiment, 
that lay at the bottom of your every form of in- 
dividual and social and political vice. At least, 
so it seems to us now, as we calmly review the 
past." 

" I cannot say nay." 

"But now, Mr. Prognosis, let us to breakfast, 
after which Marco will be your companion for 
the day ; and then this evening we can renew 
our conversation." 

" May I suggest the subject of that next con- 
versation ? " 

" Certainly." 

" Your form of government is what would 
most interest me." 

" That, then, shall be our evening's text." 



PART IV. 

A DAY'S RAMBLE WITH MARCO MORTIMER. 



CHAPTER XX. 

The Standard Pendulum, 

The Professor led the way through a corridor 
to the breakfast-room, -flooded with sunshine, 
where he introduced his guest to the already as- 
sembled family, saying : " This is my new and 
remarkable friend, Mr. Prognosis, whom you al- 
ready know something about. We must try and 
make him feel as much at home as circumstances 
will permit. I take pleasure in introducing Mr. 
Prognosis — my wife. Madam Prosper ; my 
daughter, Helen; and her school friend. Miss 
Eldom. And here comes the prospective new 
member of our family, Marco, whom you have 
already met, who is to do the honors to-day." 

Paul felt that he took his seat a little awk- 
wardly, but this feeling soon vanished in the 
presence of an ease and sociability that won his 
heart. Madam Prosper was one of those moth- 



174 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

erly old ladies who immediately give a halo of 
home to any room in which their armchairs are 
located ; and the young ladies chatted with him 
with a gentle yet perfectly sustained manner, 
that relieved him of all feeling of conversational 
responsibility. 

No allusion whatever was made to Paul's sin- 
gular past, bat the subjects talked of were con- 
fined to the scenes of his yesterday's walk with 
the Professor, and to a variety of topics of cur- 
rent interest, including duties that the young 
ladies had planned for the day. 

*' I fear," said Paul, " that I am seriously 
interfering with these plans by capturing Mr. 
Mortimer so unceremoniously." 

" Not at all," answered Miss Helen. " Marco 
has so many engagements that we no longer 
count upon him as our conductor by day ; but 
we hope to have him with us in the evening, and 
to have you, too, Mr. Prognosis." 

At the close of the meal, Paul felt as much at 
ease with each member of the delightful house- 
hold as if he had been acquainted with them for 
years. 

After brief parting salutations, and many in- 
junctions to be sure and return promptly in time 
for six-o'clock dinner, he and Marco proceeded 
to the thronged streets, on their way to view the 
standard pendulum of which the Professor had 
spoken on the previous evening. 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 175 

On entering the Hall of Sciences, Marco pre- 
sented a letter from the Professor, which 2"ave 
them immediate entrance to what was known as 
the " Pendulum Chamber," located in the base- 
ment of the building. Paul noticed that the 
walls of the chamber were composed of solid 
stone blocks of enormous thickness, and the room 
was quite dark until the attendant illuminated 
it by a glare of electric light, when, suddenly, 
the elaborate appliances of the great instrument 
stood revealed before him. 

Without speaking for several moments, the 
two men watched the measured vibrations of the 
great pendulum as it swung between its heavy 
piers of polished stone, slowly telling its beads 
to the time of double seconds. There was a 
strange kind of solemnity in the silence and regu- 
larity of its movements. It was as if the finoer 
of Time itself were counting the heartbeats of 
one whose hours were few and the minute of de- 
parture inexorably fixed. The only sound was 
a slight but distinct click at the completion of 
each stroke. 

'•' We are indebted," said Marco, in a half- 
whisper, " to the scientists of old France for the 
theory on which several of our modern appli- 
ances are based. Their invention of the metric 
system of weights and measures is the founda- 
tion on which the value of this fine instrument 



176 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

depends. We still possess the originals o£ their 
standards of measurement, including those com- 
posed of the various metals and metallic alloys, 
as well as of glass. Those painstaking French- 
men gave us not only their accurate standards, 
but also the exact length of the pendulum that 
in their time beat seconds. Thanks to them, 
therefore, we are to-day able to make compari- 
sons that are of great interest. 

" Let me first show you the construction of 
the pendulum, and we will afterward go into the 
computing-room, where the professor in charge 
will tell us some of the lessons it has already 
taught. 

"You will observe that these piers, and the 
base on which they stand, are all cut from a sin- 
gle block of stone and in a single mass, while 
the foundation below is also solid rock. You see, 
here, that the tops of the piers, which are close 
together, have, for bearings for the cross-head of 
the pendulum, two large flat jewels. These bear- 
insrs are diamonds. Restino- on these are the 
knife-edges of the cross-head, which are also 
made of thin slices of the same gem. 

" On the top of the cross-head is this elaborate 
micrometer regulator, which lengthens or short- 
ens the pendulum. This appliance indicates ac- 
curately the one-ten-thousandth fraction of a 
millimetre of movement. 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 177 

" Now look beneatli. Here tlie lower end of 
the pendulum-bar swings wevy close to this stud 
of platinum, which is deeply imbedded in the 
stone. At the present time, the distance between 
the pendulum-bar and the stud is a fraction less 
than a millimetre. Here is an electric lamp, so 
arranged that, as the pendulum swings past the 
stud, an instantaneous flash is made to pass be- 
tween the two points, and thence through a len- 
ticular glass, which greatly enlarges the beam of 
light in one direction, so that a very slight vari- 
ation of length can be detected in the enlarged 
band of light, which can then be accurately 
measured. 

" The great clock that is operated by this pen- 
dulum runs so nearly to the true time that the 
variation in the course of an entire year is only 
a small fraction of a beat. Human skill can go 
no further in this direction." 

" But the influence of varying temperature ? " 
said Paul questioningiy. 

" Of course, a perfectly even temperature 
must be maintained. To secure this, the room 
is inclosed by the three massive walls through 
which we entered by closely fitting doors ; and 
the normal temperature is 70° Fahrenheit, so 
that the presence of observers does not tend 
to change it. The heating apparatus is out- 
side, and the entire mass of stone is kept at a 



178 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

perfectly uniform temperature throughout. You 
will readily understaud, Mr. Prognosis, that it 
required many days for these massive walls to 
become once warmed through, and you will also 
understand with what tenacity they hold the 
heat, once absorbed. 

" The distance from the stud of platinum to 
the diamond bearings is absolutely unchanging, 
delicate measurements having frequently been 
made without detecting the slightest variation. 
Thus the length of the pendulum beating double- 
seconds is always known by simple inspection 
with the beam of light." 

"You seem to be quite familiar with this 
wonderful piece of mechanism," said Paul. 

" Yes, I have often visited here with Professor 
Prosper." 

" May I ask in what special work you are 
engaged ? " 

" I have not yet finished my studies in the 
Government schools, but I hope to become a 
civil engineer, if I succeed in passing the exam- 
inations." 

" If you fail, what then ?" 

" The Board of Examiners finally determines 
to what field of labor each Government pupil is 
best adapted." 

" And is there no appeal from their deci- 
sion?" 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 179 

"There is no need of that, for they are far 
better able to judge of the comparative capabili- 
ties of men than the men themselves are. Their 
duty is to see that every pupil who places him- 
self at their disposal is put in the right place." 

"And you will be satisfied witli their judg- 
ment?" 

" It would be foolish for me to feel otherwise. 
They will know, not only what my capacities are, 
but what field is open for me. When my work- 
ing age arrives, they will see that I am put to 
work without the loss of a day." 

" I shall be interested to know more about 
this." 

"I will tell you with pleasure. But now, if 
you will please to follow me, we will make a 
short call on the professor who observes and re- 
cords the movements of the pendulum." 

" I think it was mentioned, at the meeting I 
attended last evening, that he would soon read 
a paper on the subject before the Society." 

"Very likely. He is no doubt deep in his 
figures by this hour." 

They emei'ged from a dark passage by which 
they had entered, and ascended to the comput- 
ing-room on the ground floor. Here Paul was 
introduced to the elderly gentleman in charge, 
who received him with a somewhat absorbed 
manner, but presently explained the contents of 



180 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

the room and the nature of his duties. Unfor- 
tunately, his language was so technical that Paul 
could comprehend very little, yet he gathered 
enough to understand that the retardation of the 
earth's axial motion was a familiar subject. He 
also learned that the present length of the pen- 
dulum was appreciably longer than it was at the 
time when the French standards were made, 
and that computations, recently completed, con- 
firmed in a remarkable manner the deductions 
of an astronomer who had arrived at substan- 
tially the same results by an entirely different 
method. The professor showed his visitor nu- 
merous thick volumes filled with solid mechan- 
ical work, the results of several years of labor ; 
but Paul was none the wiser for anything he 
could learn from them. Feeling himself decid- 
edly out of his element in the presence of his 
kind host, he took the first opportunity to ten- 
der his thanks and withdraw. 

" I 'm afraid," said Marco smilingly, as they 
regained the street, " that you have been more 
impressed than edified." 

" I confess it ; but the fault is mine. There 
must be give and take to make conversation 
worthy of the name, and I was unable to give. 
But the pendulum, — I shall always be thank- 
ful to you for showing me that." 



CHAPTER XXL 

The Air-Ship. 

" If you will allow me, Mr. Prognosis, I will 
now offer for your approval the clay's pro- 
gramme that Professor Prosper suggested to me. 
It includes visits to the Central Observatory, 
Transcontinental Railway, and Mount Energy. 
Do you find this programme attractive ? " 

" Decidedly so." 

" I will suggest that we take them in the 
order named ; and, as the Observatory is sev- 
eral miles out of town, this will give you an op- 
portunity to test one of our air-ships, or aerial 
cars." 

"An air-ship ? Well I wherever Miss Helen 
is willing to trust you, I 'm sure I can safely 
follow." 

" The station is within this inclosure, and I 
see by the bulletin that the Observatory car is 
just ready to start. Here we are between its 
vast wings ! And now we are rising ! Does it 
make you feel at all uncomfortable ? " 



182 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" No more so than if I were aboard a passen- 
ger elevator in a building." 

*' There, now we have the proper elevation, 
and are taking our course. What do you say- 
to this as a comfortable mode of travel ? " 

"It seems like a dream. In my dreams I 
seem to have been in this car before, and to 
have flown in it to the ends of the earth. Pray 
tell me how long such machines have been in 
successful use ? " 

''Oh, for centuries; but the task of so per- 
fecting them that they should not be attended 
by danger was long and often discouraging." 

" I know something about the difficulties of 
the problem. We tried many methods in my 
day, but they were dismal failures. We at last 
came to look upon aeronauts as dreamers, and 
upon flying-machines as simply toys. At the 
same time, one had only to watch the flight of a 
seagull to feel that here was a mode of motion 
that put all others to shame." 

" It was the theory thereby suggested that 
helped retard the development of a practicable 
machine. It must have been soon after your 
day when there appeared an inventor who very 
confidently went to work on that basis. Said 
he: 'If a seagull, of such and such weight, 
and such and such length of wing and tail, and 
such motive power, can sail in the teeth of a 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 183 

northeaster, I see no reason why I cannot con- 
struct a mechanical bird that will at least be 
able to swim the aerial sea and direct its course 
in lines nearly parallel with the course of the 
wind. I propose to do just that ; and if I suc- 
ceed, then I think I can do more.' Model after 
model, of the most ingenious description, pro- 
ceeded from his fertile brain and hand. The 
theory seemed all right. Did not the gulls vis- 
ibly demonstrate that? But here was an in- 
stance where practice permanently declined to 
obey the rein of theory. The wood-and-iron 
bird refused to cousin with the flesh-and-blood 
seagull. While there appeared every possible 
I'eason why it ought to work, it simply would n't, 
and there was an end of it ! " 

" The defect, I imagine, was a simple one, — 
lack of a nervous system." 

" Very possibly. Well, then followed a plain 
mechanic, without any theory at all, beyond 
this : ' To get horse-power, I don't need to 
build the model of a horse ; and to get wing- 
power, I have no use for a feathered bird. I 
just want an every-day sort of machine. To 
make it swim in the air is easy enough. How 
to steer it is the puzzle, and I propose to solve 
that.' With little talk, but years of hard work, 
he finally completed a rather clumsy and com- 
plicated model that attracted little attention be- 



184 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

yond jibes, — when, lo and behold! it worked! 
That model, gradually simplified and perfected 
in its details, was the prototype of the beautiful 
little machine we now occupy." 

" May I ask you to please explain its princi- 
ples and its j^arts ? " 

" The main portion, as you see, consists of a 
horizontal canvas web, stretched tightly over a 
light circular framework ; and through the cen- 
tre of this passes a bamboo mast, extending 
both above and below the web. This affords 
ample means for securing numerous wire stays 
from various parts of the framework to both the 
upper and lower extremities of the mast. The 
car we occupy, please observe, is attached to 
the lower end of the mast, and in this are car- 
ried the engines, propelling machinery, and pas- 
sengers or freight." 

" What kind of a propelling device is em- 
ployed?" 

" It consists of a pair of shafts running diag- 
onally up through the canvas and rotating in 
opposite directions, each shaft being supplied 
with a propelling fan on either end. The rud- 
der then completes the machine." 

" And what motive power is used?" 

" A pair of light engines driven by explosives 
in little cartridges. Nothing could be prettier 
than the working of these engines, which arp 



TilE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 185 

hardly larger than toys; and the cartridges 
themselves are so light that fuel sufficient for an 
ordinary two or three days' flight can be easily 
carried. I 'm sorry I cannot invite you to look 
in upon the engineer, but it is strictly against 
the rules." 

" I can easily understand that he must have 
his hands full. What rate of speed is at- 
tained ? " 

" It is by no means regular, but is largely de- 
pendent on the course and power of the wind. 
From twenty-five to forty miles an hour is a 
common rate; but the flight across the conti- 
nent has been made in less than five days." 

" Are such air-ships also used in crossing the 
ocean r 

'' No, that proved too dangerous. Several fa- U 
tal accidents made a sad end to that experi- ^ 
ment." 

"Are machines of great size used?" 

" All the passenger ships are small, as these 
are found more manageable ; and they are sel- 
dom used for freight. The one we now occupy 
is a fair sample. But here we are at our jour- 
ney's end, — eight miles in twenty minutes." 

" And I do not feel as if I had made a jour- 
ney at all. Is travel by these air-ships also 

free?" 

" Free ? Yes ; everything that is recognized 



186 Tin: crystal button. 

as a convenience for the general public is per- 
fectly free." 

" Cheap enough ! I have always wished to 
visit southern California. Now is evidently my 
opportunity." 



CHAPTER XXII. 

Meridian Peak Observatory. 

"What a beautiful pleasure-ground!" ex- 
claimed Paul, as he left the aerial station, 

" This is one of our many public parks, and 
in the centre of it is the object of our visit, 
Meridian Peak Observatory. The peak is not 
a lofty one, but it has a fine atmos]3here, and 
is a favorite summer resort." 

With astonished eyes, Paul gazed on the huge 
structure before him. So far as he could see, the 
exterior of the Observatory consisted of a single 
great dome, or hemisphere, to the north side 
of which was a stone tower. He estimated the 
tower to be about fifty feet in diameter and at 
least a hundred feet high. Protruding from the 
dome, at an angle of forty-five degrees, was an 
immense shaft, strengthened by innumerable 
radiating stays ; and this shaft rested on the top 
of the tower. Paul silently regarded this last 
feature for a moment, and then said to Marco 
with some excitement, " That shaft must be 
parallel with the earth's axis." 



188 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" You have grasped the idea exactly." 

" But how can this great structure have a 
proper motion around this axis ? " 

" It is but partial," said Marco, smiling at 
Paul's quickness of perception, *' but sufficient 
for all practical purposes. Let us go into the 
office, and there we shall find drawings that 
will explain the general plan of the works with 
very little study." 

Paul followed Marco into a small side build- 
ing, where Professor Prosper's name gave them 
ready admission, and where they stopped to ex- 
amine the diagrams on the walls. 

" Here," said Marco, " is the vertical section. 
This upper hemisphere, you see, has a corre- 
sponding lower half, and both together form a 
perfect sphere. The lower half is the main 
structure. It is really a great hemispherical 
vessel, and floats in a basin just large enough 
to receive it. This cuplike hull is made very 
strong, and its deck is the floor of the observa- 
tory. 

" Here you see the axial shaft, the upper end 
resting on the pier, while the lower bearing or 
pivot is down here in the basin, corresponding 
to the one on top of the pier. 

" Here is a drawing which shows, on either 
side of the hull, as we will call it, a heavy 
toothed rack, which runs diagonally down the 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 189 

Side, and is at right angles with the axis. Each 
of these racks engages with a pinion which is a 
part of a train of wheels, moved by an engine. 
Thus, you see, the hull is capable of being 
screwed up one side and down the other on this 
diagonal pivot, thereby tilting it in either direc- 
tion twenty-two and a half degrees, or forty-five 
degrees in all. In this way, all the instruments 
on this floor are made to follow the stars with 
perfect accuracy for six consecutive hours. 

" The engines which keep up the motion have 
their valves actuated by an independent electri- 
cal engine, which, in turn, has a clock regulator. 
When engaged in planetary or cometary obser- 
vation, different clocks are connected, which 
chano:e the rate of motion as desired." 

'•'• Every requisite seems complied with," said 

Paul. 

" Yes. And now I wish to show you how 
firmly all this is put together. You understand, 
of course, that it is really a vast ball floating in 
water. Well, the deck or floor is so well braced 
and so thick that it is practically inflexible. 
The roof is also strongly made, with heavy iron 
ribs, and the covering is so arranged with sliding 
plates that openings can be made at any point 
or any number of points, as may be required by 
observers." 

Paul expressed himself as greatly interested 



190 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

by the novelty and completeness of the arrange- 
ment. '' But," he observed, " it must have been 
enormously expensive, and I should think that a 
much simpler method of mounting single instru- 
ments would have been preferable. Of course, 
too, your transit circles cannot be used here." 

" That is true," said Marco. " Our transit in- 
struments are in another building on the other 
side of the great dome ; but you will readily un- 
derstand why such outlay was thought desirable 
when you see the great reflector. All you have 
examined thus far are but the mountings of the 
principal instrument, although they incidentally 
furnish the best possible accommodations for 
many others." 

They next passed through an entrance on the 
north side of the stone tower, where an inclined 
platform led to a door, as if on a ship in the 
docks. They ascended this platform and passed 
into the interior. Paul gazed with admiration 
at the arching canopy above them, which was 
grand in its proportions and presented a space 
perfectly clear with the exception of the axial 
shaft, which passed through the floor at the cen- 
tre and sloped away to the north side of the 
roof. It was supported from the floor by iron 
trusswork. He saw about him several large 
refractors, turning on pivots and mounted on 
simple trunnions, together with many other in- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 191 

struments whose uses he did not know ; but the 
great reflector, — where was that ? 

" These are magnificent instruments," he said 
to Marco, " but I expected to see something 
much larger." 

Marco smiled, and pointed across the inclosed 
space to an oval - shaped object covered by a 
screen. They walked across to its side, and 
an attendant withdrew the screen, revealing an 
immense concave mirror, elliptical in form, its 
shortest diameter being at least twenty feet. It 
was supported by a metal framework, which re- 
minded Paul of the frame of a monster steam- 
engine. The mirror sloped backward at an 
angle of forty-five degrees from the perpendicu- 
lar, and was so arranged that this inclination 
could be changed through an arc of forty-five 
degrees. 

'' This is remarkable ! " exclaimed Paul, " but 
I do not understand it. It is a much larger S23ec- 
ulum than I supposed possible to make ; but it 
has not a spherical curve, and it has no tube or 
place for an observer that I can perceive." 

" True, it has no tube, but the place for the 
observer is across the hall. Do you see those 
iron guides running up nearly to the roof ? 
Well, those are the elevator guides by which the 
other end of the telescope, with the observer's 
seat, his short tube, and his eye-pieces, are ele- 



192 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

vatecl or lowered to correspond with the inclina- 
tion given to the mirror. These guides are seg- 
ments of a circle, whose centre is the axis of the 
mirror. It is now placed for zenith observations, 
and the chair of the observer is at the bottom. 
The image, you see, is reflected at an angle of 
forty-five degrees. Hence its elliptical form and 
its spheroidal curves. From the eye-piece, the 
mirror presents a perfectly round disk and pro- 
duces a perfect image.*' 

While they were looking across toward the ob- 
server's end of the telescope, the attendant care- 
fully returned the curtain to its place ; and the 
two visitors walked across to the other extremity. 

Paul was deeply impressed by the great 
strength of every part, and also by the extraor- 
dinary provisions for securing absolute accuracy 
of movement. The short tube was uncovered, 
and was, in fact, a large telescope. Within the 
car, or chair, were arranged a great variety of 
high and low power eye-pieces, spectroscopes, 
etc. Paul longed for a single peep through this 
monster artificial eye, which must, he thought, 
have the vision of a god. He felt himself humbled 
to the dimensions of a creeping insect, as he con- 
sidered the smallness of his horizon as compared 
with that of the tremendous instrument before 
him ; and he left the building with his head still 
uncovered, as if he were in the Divine Presence. 



CHAPTER XXill. 
The Transcontinental Railway, 

" For variety," said Marco, " we will return 
to the city by one of these electric road-car- 
riages, which is likely to be quite as swift as the 
aerial car, and we shall then have an opportu- 
nity to inspect the transcontinental railway line. 
I am sure that will interest you, for it is based 
on a principle which was only entertained as a 
vague theory in your century. And, if we lose 
no time, we shall be able to take a glimpse of the 
evening train as it shoots by." 

" By all means, then, let us hasten." 

" The electric carriage must hasten for us. 
The road to the city from this point is one of 
the best, and there are no restrictions as to 
speed, so our driver wdll be able to show you the 
possibilities of his machine." 

With these words, Marco called a carriage, ex- 
plained to the driver that he wished to be at a 
certain point at a certain time ; and^ without an 
instant's delay, they coursed down Meridian Peak 
and into one of the great boulevards leading 



Il 



19 i THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

toward the city, which blazed and glistened in the 
afternoon sun-glow. 

Meanwhile the carriage itself attracted Paul's 
attention, by reason of its simplicity and beauty, 
and the surprising ease with which it glided 
along the level highway. In form, the body was 
not unlike that of the primitive coupe, giving ac- 
commodation to two passengers inside, while the 
driver occujiied an outer and elevated seat at the 
rear, after the style of the Hansom cab. The 
source of power was invisible : and, judging by 
the attitude of the driver, the means of applying 
it was well-nigh automatic. Marco explained 
that the electric battery was snugly packed un- 
der the seat they occupied, and that the supply 
of power was equal to about a day's travel with 
their present load and under the favorable con- 
ditions of the road before them. 

" And about what speed are we now mak- 
ing?" 

" The driver can tell us, as a dial before him 
keeps that fact constantly recorded, so that he 
can time himself to make any given distance 
with the greatest accuracy." 

An inquiry addressed to the driver brought 
tlie response that, while coasting down the hill- 
side, they had for a short space made a record 
of twenty-one and one tenth miles per hour, but 
that this was now reduced to eighteen and four 
tenths. 



THE CRYSTAL BUTT OS. 195 

Marco further explained that the' body and 
wheels of the vehicle were composed entirely of 
metal ; but such was the accuracy of adjustment 
that not the slightest sound was heard, except- 
ing the firm, even roll of the wheels as if they 
clung to a metal track, and the occasional j)eal 
of a musical bell as they approached a cross- 
road or a vehicle going less rapidly than the}^ 
The danger of collision was greatly reduced by 
the fact that all vehicles approaching the city 
were divided from those outward-bound by a 
double row of elms inclosing three middle paths 
for pedestrians, bicycles, and saddle-horses ; so 
that speed was seldom slackened excepting at 
some of the great crossways. 
" So horses are allowed here." 
" Yes, we are still outside the city limits." 
Between the towering Pyramids they soon 
swept ; down the incline toward the river, alive 
with gay water-craft ; over the Old Bridge, pop- 
ulous with statues ; and then, by a swift curve, 
under the porte-cochere of the railway station, 
where they learned that the evening express was 
due in two minutes and a quarter. The station- 
master showed them an indicator in his office, 
on which the approaching train was shown by an 
index finger ; and, at the same moment, alarm 
bells began to sound along the roadways. The 
window of the station was thrown up, and they 
looked out to see the track. 



196 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" But I see no track! " exclaimed the aston- 
ished spectator. 

" I will explain that later," said Marco. " Here 
comes the train ! " 

There was a flash — a glisten — a slight sus- 
pension of breath and dizziness as the air seemed 
caught from the lungs — a little puff of dust — 
and it was gone I 

*' Is that a railway train which passed," gasped 
Paul, " or a whirlwind ? " 

" That," answered the station-master, smiling 
at the visitor's surprise, " is our regular evening 
express, which will land its passengers within 
sound of the Pacific's waves in twenty-four hours 
from now." 

" And now about the track." 

" Before we look at that," said Marco, " I 
want to propose that we visit the main station 
and car-shops, where you will have an opportu- 
nity to examine the rolling-stock. My object in 
pausing here was simply to show you a train 
under full speed." 

They therefore reentered their carriage, took 
another short course, obtained a permit and a 
guide, and were conducted into a spacious car- 
house, where several trains stood side by side. 

At first glance, Paul thought each train was 
continuous from end to end, and it was practi- 
cally so, although there were provisions for dis- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 197 

connecting its parts and lengthening or shorten- 
ing it according to the demands of custom. Each 
train was several hundred feet in length, and 
the entrance doors were at the sides. 

While he stood looking at them, a bell struck, 
and one of these solid trains moved slowly and 
smoothly past him, gradually attaining speed, 
and with such silent celerity that Paul stared 
after it in dumb amazement as it vanished in 
the far distance. 

" What kind of wheels, what kind of axles, 
and what kind of roadways liave you, to admit 
of speed like that ? " asked Paul ; " and what 
speed is it possible for you to attain ? " 

" To answer your last question first," said the 
guide, " our fastest trains travel at the rate of 
three degrees of longitude [over two hundred 
miles] per hour. The rails, wheels, journals, 
and boxes are all either solid, or cased with hard- 
ened steel, and are perfectly true." 

" I see," said Paul excitedly, — ''I see that this 
is an age of j^erfection, and that, with the perfect 
mechanism you have to deal with, you can easily 
and safely make somewhat over four times the 
speed we used to boast of. Why not ? We did 
well to accomplish what we did, over the rough 
jounces of our crooked rails and decaying 
wooden sleepers. But your track ? I have not 
yet seen any track. I see only these fences, — 
what is the purpose of these fences? " 



198 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

"" They are the tracks," said the guide, sol- 
emnly eying the visitor, as if he did not quite 
understand the cause of his surprise. 

Paul advanced and asked : " On which side 
of this fence was the train that has just left 
us ? " 

" It was on both sides," said Marco, laughing ; 
" in fact, it was astride of this fence. It is sim- 
ply a single-track railway." 

Upon examining the single rail on top of the 
supposed fence, Paul found that it consisted 
of a number of steel bars, placed on edge and 
bolted together by lapping joints so as to make 
it continuous, and fixed in a grooved capping of 
cast-iron, all being planed and fitted with the 
greatest nicety. The lower part of the fence- 
like support of the rail proper was extremely 
strong and stiff, having a wide base and being 
bolted to a solid stone foundation. 

Paul walked around the front end of one of 
the " transports," as he noticed the guide called 
these trains, and found it to be pointed like the 
prow of a boat, and the lower part cleft to the 
heio*ht of the rail, which latter was about six feet 
above the foundation. On the top of the trans- 
port was a longitudinal projection, like the in- 
verted keel of a boat, or still more like the 
dorsal fin of an eel. " This covers the wheels," 
said Paul to himself, " and the axles are across 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 199 

the top, or probably under the framework of the 
top." On questioning the guide, he found this 
to be the case. 

" These transports, as you see, are very light 
structures," said Marco, "great weight having 
been found inconsistent with great speed." 

" I believe you are right," said Paul ; " yet in 
my day we had night cars weighing over thirty 
tons each, whose carrying capacity was only 
fifteen passengers, or two tons of dead weight 
to each passenger carried ; while, at the same 
time, we had cars of only one twentieth that 
weight which easily carried the same number of 
passengers and their luggage over the rough- 
est roads. I suppose," he continued, "that a 
train on a double-track road could hardly be 
made to attain the high speed that has been 
named." 

" No," answered Marco, " for experience 
showed that they were liable to jump the tracks, 
or do something else that was undesirable. You 
see, this is no experiment. Centuries ago, it was 
settled that the use of a single track was the 
only practicable means of combining speed and 
safety. By this arrangement, the weight is dis- 
posed on either side and below the top of the 
rail, for the transport bestrides its support just 
as a rider does his horse, thus giving a maximum 
degree of stability and safety." 



200 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" I should think curves, turnouts, and draw- 
hridfres would cause trouble." 

" So they would," said Marco, ^^ if we had 
them ; but the rail for a fast line has no curves, 
and no breaks excepting at terminal stations, 
where all transfer ways are placed. No switches 
are ever used on the fast lines." 

" A very wise precaution, too," said Paul. 
" Those old switches we used to tolerate had a 
multitude of crimes to answer for. But how do 
you prevent the overhanging" sides of this trans- 
port from rubbing and grinding against the iron- 
work below the rail? It must sometimes be 
' out of trim,' as we would say of a boat ; and 
this transport is really more like a boat than 
like any rail-car I have ever before seen." 

" Look underneath here," said Marco, " and 
you will readily understand how that is avoided. 
Here are horizontal wheels, which rest against 
the sides of the iron support. When speed is 
attained, these wheels separate a little, by an ar- 
rangement worked by the swift passage of air 
through the clefts dividing the two parts of the 
transport. Thus they come into action only 
when the motion is slow, as in starting or slow- 
ing up. Moreover, as you doubtless know, great 
velocity insures stability. A body moving with 
swiftness shows no tendency to oscillation. And 
here again, on the roof, is another device intended 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 201 

to preserve the proper poise. It works automat- 
ically. You see this longitudinal rib on top, 
which covers the wheels. It looks smooth and 
continuous, but it is, in fact, cut out in various 
places between the wheels, and these cut-out sec- 
tions are mounted on upright shafts and turned 
t3 the right or left as the car tilts, however lit- 
tle that may be ; and the swift current of air, 
striking these rudders, helps further to keep the 
transport vertical and steady. If you were to 
ride in one, I think you would be surprised to 
find how perfectly this quality of steadiness has 
been attained." 

" No doubt, no doubt ! Indeed, I am now 
ready to believe that the generations of master- 
minds that have dealt with these questions since 
my day have removed all difficulties which puz- 
zled railway managers in my time. Yet these 
points cannot but present themselves to my mind, 
and suggest questions. For instance, supposing 
the engineer should forget to apply the brakes 
at the proper time, I should think, in case of a 
smash-up, that a transport and its passengers 
would be demolished beyond recognition." 

"Unquestionably," answered Marco; "but we 
do not throw as much responsibility on human 
agency as you were accustomed to do. We sup- 
plement man's powers by every possible me- 
chanical contrivance. These brakes all act auto- 



202 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

matically. Whenever tlie transport approaches 
a point on the road where a regular stop is to 
be made, the brakes are thrown into action by an 
attachment to the track, or, rather, to the frame 
that supports it. A long, swelled projection on 
the frame actuates an arm on the transport, and 
thereby throws on the brakes and shuts off the 
steam at the same instant. This, of course, 
applies only to regular stopping-places. In case 
of emergency, the engineer uses his judgment, 
but we leave as little to his judgment as possi- 
ble." 

" I suppose it is all right," said Paul, " but 
we used to have an idiom to the effect that ' ac- 
cidents will happen in the best regulated fami- 
lies,' the truth of which we frequently exem- 
plified ; and I should think such speed would be 
fruitful of disaster. Imagine another train 
coming in contact with it from behind, as was 
not uncommon in the early days of railroading ; 
why, not a person in either transport could 
escape instant annihilation." 

" That can never happen," said Marco, " for 
the positions of all transports are known at all 
times all along the line ; and in case one made 
a stop from any unexpected cause, every other 
would be immediately notified by telegraph, 
and none would be allowed to leave a station 
unless the track were open to the next principal 
station." 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 203 

" That is a good arrangement. Yet I should 
still expect trouble of some kind would result 
from such speed. I should expect, for instance, 
that the wheels would sometimes fly in pieces, 
and come crashing through the middle wall into 
the passengers' quarters." 

" All I can say is that it does not happen. 
Of course, every possible precaution is adopted. 
The wheels are of the best quality of . steel forg- 
ings, and no more liable to break than a cir- 
cular saw, which can safely be run at double 
the speed." 

''I should suppose, also," continued Paul, 
" that engines heavy enough to drive these car- 
riages could hardly be worked fast enough to 
turn the wheels at the required speed without 
great loss." 

"A very good point," replied Marco, "but 
I will answer it by showing you the engine 
itself." 

Walking down to the middle of the trans- 
port by which they were standing, they entered 
the engineer's compartment, and Paul soon per- 
ceived how this difficulty was overcome. High 
overhead were the axles of the great driving- 
wheels. These axles were provided, not with 
cranks, but with gears. The gears were rather 
small-toothed, very small and bright, broad-faced, 
and arranged in pairs, two wheels being placed 



204 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

side by side, the teeth not corresponding in po- 
sition. The crank-shaft, which passed through 
from side to side in the space between the 
tread of the driving-wheels, carried two pairs 
of crown wheels and engaged the four pairs of 
pinion wheels on the axles above. The speed- 
ing-up was about three to one. The steam cyl- 
inders were horizontal, and placed as near the 
middle of the shaft as possible. All the ar- 
rangements were very beautiful, and they com- 
mended themselves to Paul's practiced eye as 
perfection realized. 

"Well," said Marco, as his companion com- 
pleted his survey, " what do you think of it ? " 

" I think," said Paul, " as a jockey might, 
after inspecting a famous horse, — ' it looks as 
if it had ninety in it.' But do you find no diffi- 
culty in starting these engines ? " 

" We probably should," answered the young 
engineer, " but we avoid that liability by em- 
ploying an auxiliary starter, worked by com- 
pressed air, which gives it a good send-off. The 
engine is perfectly capable of making a start 
from a standing position, but it would be a lit 
tie slow." 

" I understand. Now, one thing more, if you 
please, and if time will allow. I should like 
very much to see something of your system of 
electric signals. I shall probably not be able 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTOIV. 205 

to compreliend them, but even a glance at them 
would interest me, because I have given con- 
siderable attention to that subject." 

They walked toward the manager's office, and 
as they did so, Paul watched the great trans- 
fer platform slowly moving the transports into 
position for starting. He also saw another of 
these movable sections of the road in a monster 
turntable, waiting to receive one of the trans- 
ports, which, like a land steamer, was gradually 
swinging about, as if at her dock. 

Upon entering the office, the young man di- 
rected Paul's attention to a long case, which had 
a double slide in front, and a metallic back on 
which were engraved the names of cities. 

"There," said Marco, "this represents the 
length of road from here to Megothem, two 
hundred miles or an hour's distance from here. 
These are the names of the stations along the 
road, and these little moving objects represent 
the precise positions of all the transports now 
€71 route^ either going or coming. Whenever a 
stop is made by any one of them, a gong is 
sounded, and this signal is repeated when it 
starts again. The manager, by a glance, can 
thus keep the run of things as speedily and ac- 
curately as he can tell the time of day by look- 
ing at the clock." 

" We used a similar device in connection with 



206 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

our passenger elevators in buildings," said Paul, 
" so I can readily understand how the princi- 
])le might be extended and applied in this case. 
It is excellent. Has the manager also some 
means of communicating with the trains while 
in transit ? " 

" Oh, certainly. Each transport is in tele- 
graphic connection with every station on the 
line, so that messages can be passed to and fro 
whenever desirable." 

" Good, very good ! And the result is " — 
" No accidents," broke in Marco, " and no 
opportunity for accidents." 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

Mount Energy. 

" Now, tlien," said Marco, " prepare to be 
again surprised, and sujDremely so, by a sight of 
what we call ' Mount Energy.' " 

A further short course in the electric carriage 
brought them to the outskirts of the city, where 
they alighted at the foot of a rocky hill ; and on 
its brow Paul beheld a lofty rampart or tower of 
stone, circular in form and more than two thou- 
sand feet in diameter, surmounted by what ap- 
peared to be a naval display of tall-masted ves- 
sels, sailing in stately procession around the 
margin of its summit. " Well, well ! " exclaimed 
Paul, " I don't understand at all what this 
means." 

" This," said Marco, " is one of many similar 
towers from which we mainly derive our mechan- 
ical pov/er, and this is the largest. Here is where 
we produce the compressed air that moves our 
cars and drives our machinery ; here are located 
the electric generators that give us light ; and 
here we separate hydrogen from water, that it 



/ 



208 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

may be used for warming our houses in winter 
and cooking our food. These processes are 
chiefly performed by power caught directly from 
the winds. Mind you, we no longer look upon 
the winds of heaven as uncontrollable and pitiless 
forces that are to be feared and shunned. We 
invite their cooperation ; and, with a little in- 
genuity in handling them, they have become 
very docile and helpful friends." 

" I see, — you have tamed our eagles into do- 
mestic fowls. But do you not find them rather 
inconstant? I should suppose that their wings 
would often be becalmed, and that your machin- 
ery would soon stop." 

" That is where the ingenuity comes in," said 
Marco. " Like most other difficulties, this one 
is not insurmountable, as you will soon see. 
But before I try to explain, let us walk up 
the incline leading to the working level, and 
there you will be able to see and understand for 
3^ourself most of the appliances that are em- 
ployed." 

The terraced road before them, after reaching 
the summit of the hill, entered a long arched 
roadway or sloping bridge that led to the top 
of the wall, where an arched opening gave 
entrance to the interior. They slowly climbed 
this steep incline, stopping frequently to take 
breath, and also to enjoy the charming pano- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 209 

ramie view of the contrasted scenes of city and 
country life by which they were surrounded. 
Out of the sunshine they then passed through 
the topmost arch and last tunnel, that led 
through a solid wall thirty or forty feet in thick- 
ness, into the midst of the animated scene of the 
interior. Paul was fully prepared to be sur- 
prised, but the reality far surpassed his expecta- 
tions. 

The entire roof of the vast tower was slowly 
revolving above their heads like a horizontal 
wheel. At intervals between the circumference 
and centre were lines of iron framework, form- 
ing circles within each other, and these frames 
supported a great number of wheels on which 
the roof rested and revolved. Attached to the 
iron frames and operated by the wheels were in- 
numerable condensing engines, and other strange- 
looking contrivances that Marco explained were 
electric generators and hj^drogen liberators. 
Upon inquiry, they learned that, as the breeze 
blowing was moderate, only one fourth the en- 
tire number of machines were at present con- 
nected ; but that, with a high wind, all could 
easily be pushed to their full capacity, and the 
amount of work they accomplished, as exhibited 
by tables of figures, was beyond the power of 
Paul's mind to grasp at once. 

*' Before we go up on deck," said Marco, " I 



210 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

raay as well explain the principal features of 
this wind apparatus. You noticed the solidity 
of the wall through which we entered. Well, on 
top of this wall is a circular canal, extending 
around the whole structure. Floating in this 
canal is an annular vessel, nearly filling it, which 
carries the principal weight of the deck that 
covers the entire area, and also the weight of the 
masts, sails, and rigging. The wheels on which 
the deck rests help incidentally to support it, but 
are mainly employed in accumulating and trans- 
mitting the power." 

While Marco thus spoke, the visitors reached 
the great central shaft, around which curved a 
stairway, and this they followed until they stepped 
through an opening at the top and stood in the 
midst of the revolving platform, surrounded by 
sunshine and the flash of white sails. In the cen- 
tre arose an iron tower or mainstay, that seemed 
to pierce the clouds ; while around the rim of the 
deck, at regular intervals of one hundred feet, 
stood the masts, uniform in height, and much 
higher than the mainmasts of the largest ships. 
Sixty of these masts completed the circle. They 
were held firmly in position by stays radiating 
from the iron tower, and also by stays extending 
from pne to another and to projecting spars re- 
sembling bov/sprits. Each mast was provided 
with a double series of booms, swinging both in- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 211 

wardly and outwardly, the lower ones being very 
long, while those at the top were shortened like 
the yards of a square-rigged ship. On these 
swinging booms were arranged the sails, which 
opened and closed like the wings of a butterfly, 
trimming themselves automatically to catch the 
faintest breeze. Paul could easily see that the 
strength of the masts, sails, and rigging was cal- 
culated to withstand the most furious gale, and 
that no reefing was ever necessary. The great 
circular ship was always in working order, day 
or night, blow high or blow low, without the 
need of ever calling poor Jack to tumble up and 
spread or shorten sail. 

Paul gazed without speaking upon the great 
white wings as they swept noiselessly, but irre- 
sistibly, around the grand circle. He felt small 
and weak as he contemplated the proportions of 
this marvelous work of human hands, and esti- 
mated the enormous horse-power it must repre- 
sent. " There is really a sort of majesty about 
it," he finally ejaculated. 

" I think so, too," said Marco, " and I often 
pay a visit here to get nerved up, as it were." 

" I begin," added Paul, " to see the signifi- 
cance of all this. In the rapid succession of un- 
accustomed sensations I ha»ve experienced during 
the past two days, I have had little time for 
thought; but I can vaguely feel rather than 



212 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

understand what this means. The world's coal- 
fiekls are no doubt exhausted, and you have no 
fuel for either steam-power or heating purposes. 
Consequent!}^, you are obliged to resort to this 
mode of obtaining power through the medium of 
compressed air, and to this mode of securing 
heat through h3'^drogen and light through elec- 
tricity. All are produced here, and the power 
that produces them is that of the winds." 

" You are a keen observer, sir," said Marco, 
"but not altogether correct in your premises. 
As a matter of fact, our coal supply is not yet 
exiiausted, but vast quantities have been wasted, 
and we never allow ourselves to use coal for pro- 
ducing power so long as we can conveniently 
substitute wind or falling water, and our steam 
is mainly produced by the heat of the sun's 
rays." 

" Steam by the sun's rays ? " said Paul inquir- 
ingly. " Ah, that was Ericsson's prophecy. 
But have you really learned how to secure useful 
work from the sun ?" 

" Yes, indeed," rejoined Marco. " In the long, 
hot days of summer, when the winds are light, 
it is a powerful auxiliary, on which we have 
learned to depend. We no longer complain of 
hot weather : we kiu)w it means cheap power, 
that will be carefully stored and prove invalua- 
ble in a thousand ways. The sun apparatus is 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 213 

at work to-day, and, if you are ready, we will im- 
mediately visit it. It covers the south wall of 
this structure, and we can descend by this eleva- 
tor directly to the works." 

" One more question, first," said Paul. " I 
see you have two strings to your bow for the 
production of energy ; but supposing wind and 
sun both fail to lend their shoulders to your 
work, as they must at times, what then hap- 
pens ? " 

" The same as usual," answered Marco. 
" Everything proceeds ; nothing stands still. 
We merely make a draft on the surplus energy 
we always keep on storage, which is intended to 
be sufficient for at least a full month's supply 
without assistance from any other source. The 
supply has never yet been exhausted." 

" How can you store sufficient compressed air 
to meet such a requirement, and where do you 
store it?" 

'' Storage is not difficult. For instance, the 
wall that supports these upper works is a vast 
water cistern, which is sunk far below the sur- 
face of the ground ; and resting upon the water 
is the air-receiver, which is of the full size of the 
interior space. This is open at the bottom, and 
rises as the air is forced into it. It has a verti- 
cal range of one hundred feet, and is loaded to 
maintain a pressure of three atmospheres. It 



214 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

is not an open inverted cistern, but is formed 
like a honeycomb of upright hexagonal cells, 
and these cells communicate with each other bv 
openings near the top, so that the pressure is 
equal and constant." 

As Marco spoke, he drew Paul toward the 
elevator ; the door" opened, and they took their 
seats in the car, which rapidly descended. 

" I see," said Paul ; but he said the words a 
little dubiously. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

The Solar Steam- Works, 

' At the bottom of the elevator shaft, Paul and 
Marco entered the engine-room of the Solar 
Steam-Works : this extension to the main struc- 
ture was crescent - shaped, and extended from 
the southeast tp the southwest, covering about 
a third of the main wall. The floor was occu- 
pied by a long line of powerful steam-engines, 
following the curve of the wall, all vigorously, 
but noiselessly, at work. 

" The heating apparatus," said Marco, ** which 
is the chief attraction for us, is on the floor 
above ; and if we ascend by the eastern en- 
trance, we shall see it to the best advantage, as 
the sun is now on the west side." 

Passing up a spiral stairway, they entered 
directly into the steam-generating room, and 
Paul experienced still another novel sensation. 
Some moments passed before he was able to col- 
lect his faculties and intelligently observe what 
was going on about him. He then saw that, on 
the side opposite the main wall, was a cavernous 



216 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

horizontal recess, walled with white fire-brick, 
and within this recess a perfect network of 
pipes. This pipe cavern extended all around 
the outer inclosure, while the wall above the 
brickwork, and also the roof of the great cres- 
cent extension, were composed entirely of glass, 
the height being the same as that of the main 
structure, namely, two hundred feet, with width 
about the same. Paul next noticed that the 
main wall was entirely covered by mirrors, all 
so adjusted in frames that they were made to 
catch and reflect the sun's rays directly into the 
cavern below and upon the pipes, which he now 
understood were intended to answer the place of 
boilers ; the movements were automatic, turn- 
ing with the sun, and all that were now exposed 
cast their quota of rays full into the boiler re- 
cess. The effect of the flood of light which, at 
first glance, seemed to radiate from the boil- 
ers to the mirrors, was dazzling beyond descrip- 
tion, and it was difficult for Paul to conceive 
that the blazing interior of the boiler receptacles 
was not really a bed of live coals. Marco ex- 
plained how the morning sun illuminated one 
half of the mirrors, how the noon sun illnminated 
both halves, and how the present afternoon sun 
again expended itself on one half. 

"It is much easier than you might at first 
suppose," said Marco, " to thus generate steam 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 217 

from the sun's rays, the heat being directly ap- 
plied to a much larger heating surface than 
could be reached by fire." 

" Yes ; but the degree of heat thus accumu- 
lated is what I most marvel at." 

'' That is merely a matter of mathematics. 
We have only to catch and convert into 
power the solar heat falling upon an area ten 
feet square, — that is, one hundred square feet, 
— and we secure energy equal to the force of 
five or six horses. The power placed within 
our reach by the sun's rays and the winds is, 
you see, exhaustless, and equal to every need of 
man in the way of motive and mechanical force. 
But I should add that both these sources of 
power, limitless as they are, would be of little 
practical use to us without the medium of com- 
pressed air through which we make the applica- 
tion. In your day, you had little conception of 
what a wonderful agent of usefulness you held 
dormant in compressed air. It is always ready 
for work, and it waits our pleasure though un- 
used for years. When needed, we have only to 
turn a valve, and this willing servant instantly 
answers our summons. With equal facility it 
turns the delicate little rotaries for the lightest 
task, or the immense engines employed in our 
factories and forging works. It is ready for 
the jeweler's blowpipe, or for the blast furnace. 



218 THE CRYSTAL BUTT OX. 

It cools and purifies the chamber of the invalid, 
or blows the organ, or dries vaults and cellars. 
In innumerable ways, it is now an indispensable 
helper." 

" I can understand that," said Paul ; " and I 
can also understand one imj^ortant advantage it 
possesses as com^Dared with steam. With steam- 
jDOwer the fire needs constant attention as well 
as the boiler. Moreover, to be effectual, — to 
say nothing about being economical, — it must 
be operated constantly during working hours. 
It must oftentimes, therefore, be in active ser- 
vice for long periods, and at considerable ex- 
pense for fuel and care, when there is no work 
for it to do. I can understand that, with com- 
pressed air, supplied by a system of pipes, there 
is no call for constant attention, but it is al- 
ways on duty when needed, and can be shut off 
the moment it has filled that need." 

" Moreover," continued Marco, " a further 
saving is made in our large workshops by hav- 
ing each machine, to which power is applied, 
driven by its own independent air-wheel. In 
fact, nearly every machine nowadays is made 
with its power-wheel as an integral part of the 
mechanism, thus saving both first cost and wear 
and tear of shafting, pulleys, and belting, and 
also the waste of power required in constantly 
driving them." 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 219 

" That 's an improvement, certainly," re- 
sponded Paul. " So you connect each machine 
directly with the supply pipe, do you ? " 

'' Exactly." 

" An improvement, unquestionably ! I know 
that by my own experience." 

Leaving" the boiler-room, and descending by 
stairs to the engine - room below, they again 
passed the long row of engines and so out of 
the building, whereupon they reentered the elec- 
tric carriage, and were whisked down the hill- 
side avenue. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

Tlie Palace of the, Sun. 

" Ake we now bound for home ? " asked Paul. 

" Yes ; but I will suggest that we make one 
more call on the way. In the Solar Steam- 
Works you have seen one of the modes in which 
we use the direct rays of the sun as a helpmate 
in our work. I would now like to show you 
how we also use them as a pleasure-giving and 
health-giving agent. If you are not too tired, I 
want to introduce you to what we call our ' Pal- 
ace of the Sun.' " 

"The very name is enough to banish weari- 
ness, if I felt it ; but I am not at all tired." 

" From the crest of this hill, you will be able 
to get a good idea of its external appearance." 

A few moments later, the young man directed 
the driver to make a turn to the left, where, 
after a short ascent that led to a paved terrace 
in front of a temple-like structure, a glorious 
view of the Sun Palace suddenly burst upon 
them. There was no need to ask, " Is this it ? " 
In the little valley beneath them lay a billowy 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 221 

sea of glass, glittering in the late sun-glow as 
though a thousand suns were imprisoned within 
its crystal roofs. A park, of dimensions that 
seemed to Paul more than equal to the familiar 
Boston Common of his own day, was closed in by 
glass, as if it were a vast conservatory. A cen- 
tral dome of glass towered hundreds of feet 
above the streets below, and five circles of lesser 
domes and arches surrounded this, gradually 
decreasing in size until they stooped to the out- 
side walls of glass. Glass, — everything visible 
from this height was of glass, and every thing- 
was aglow with sunshine. 

"It is certainly marvelously beautiful," said 
Paul ; " but to what use is it put ? I seem to 
see streets and buildings within it, as if it were 
a miniature city. It now occurs to me that it 
must have been in this fairy world that I had 
the pleasure of dining wdth the Professor last 
evening. But the structure, — does it inclose an 
international exhibition of some kind, planned 
on a scale that makes it a world in itself? " 

" No and yes. It is not at all one of the ex- 
hibitions of mechanical devices, such as became 
common in the latter half of the nineteenth cen- 
tury and grew to gigantic projjortions in the 
century following. Then, when the science of 
mechanics was in comparative infancy, and the 
code of knowledge possessed by one generation 



222 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

became the primer of the next, such compara- 
tive reviews of recent discovery were invalua- 
ble ; but now we have little or nothing new to 
learn along those much-traveled lines. Yet it 
is, indeed, a world in itself, — a tropical world, 
where summer always reigns, and where nothing 
is ever allowed to enter that does not bring blos- 
soms, or perfume, or music, or smiles, or happi- 
ness in some form ; nothing, I should say, other 
than humanity. Many of those who live here 
are invalids, or would be invalids if required to 
face the rigors of our climate during the seasons 
of change. Here it is always June, and here 
every precaution is taken to assemble all possi- 
ble conditions that are favorable to health and 
vitality. Instead of sending our invalids to far- 
off health resorts, we have brought to their doors 
the best of all sanitariums, where friends and 
medical experts can be within easy reach, and 
where they are surrounded by all that art can 
furnish to amuse and stimulate them. But you 
shall see, — you shall see ! " 

. Upon leaving the carriage, they entered, by a 
series of swinging doors, upon a central avenue 
lined with flower-beds and tropical trees, among 
which flitted and caroled numerous birds. A 
delicate fragrance of orange blossoms was in the 
air, and distant music lent an added feeling of 
restfulness. 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 223 

"You may find it a trifle warm," said Marco, 
*' just after leaving the outer air, but you will soon 
become accustomed to this temperature, which is 
never varied throughout the year, but is main- 
tained at a standard that is considered most 
conducive to the health of animals and plants. 
Those who, like myself, find the sharp nip of 
the winter wind a pleasure sometimes call this 
little realm ' Eifeminacia,' and it is a fact that 
those who constantly dwell here have less vigor 
than we outsiders ; but they unquestionably have 
remarkably good health, and live to an astonish- 
ingly ripe old age. One of our humorists once 
remarked that ' invalidism in Effeminacia is im- 
mortalism.' It is a famous winter resort for 
all classes, and its many hotels are filled to over- 
flowing during that season. It is also the chief 
centre of gayety in this region ; and its constant 
attractions in the way of music, theatricals, art 
exhibitions, and merrymakings of all kinds make 
it a rendezvous throughout the year." 

" It certainly appears a ^^aradise, appealing to 
every sense." 

" And also to every creature comfort. That 
is its object. So far as health and pleasure are 
concerned, human skill has conceived nothinsf 
more perfect than this little Eden. Of course, 
we have many public works that exhibit far 
more genius, but this is a happy combination of 



224 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

strikingly beautiful elements. To the achieve- 
ments of skill there seems to be no limit ; and 
so long as man possesses the power of thought, 
he will constantly be engaged in adding some- 
thins: to the sum of human knowledsfe and to 
visible manifestations of that knowledge." 

" Very true. The old adage that ' the pres- 
ent builds upon the past ' still holds, no doubt, 
and the accumulative process that has been 
active ever since pre-glacial man fashioned his 
first rude weapons of flint is evidently still at 
work in your more advanced age ; but you can 
hardly imagine how completely a leap of a. few 
thousand years ap2:)ears to have resulted in the 
creation of a new earth. How is it with your 
heaven? Have yon also created a new heaven?" 

" It was one of John Costor's mottoes that 
every man should do his utmost to make earth a 
heaven. He viewed all unhappiness with sus- 
picion ; and, in following out that same train of 
thought, we have found it to be a general truth 
— with only enough exceptions to prove the 
rule — that unhappiness is in some way the fruit 
of either sin or ignorance. According: to his 
teachings, if we could only banish those two 
conditions from human life, we should live in an 
earthly paradise that would fit us to feel at 
home in any future state, however joyful." 

" Judging from the cheerful faces of the 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 225 

pleasure-seekers I here see about us, you would 
seem already to have realized that dream." 

'* Not wholly, but enough to encourage us 
to press forward along the path that Costor 
pointed out." 

The concourse of people to which Paul re- 
ferred was certainly quite unlike any ever gath- 
ered in his day. Up and down the broad ave- 
nues they thronged, dressed in the lightest of 
summer clothing, and gayly talking and laugh- 
ing. There was no look of care, no feverish 
haste. It was as if the world were made for 
them, and their only duty to drink in its de- 
lights. Paul watched their happy faces in the 
doorways and on the spacious balconies project- 
ing from the upper stories of the structures that 
towered on either hand above the orange-trees 
and pahns. If any of these were invalids, then 
it seemed well to be an invalid. 

Now and then they entered and took a glance 
at some pleasure-house, where paintings and 
sculpture looked alive in the warm, perfumed 
air, and unseen orchestras gave a zest to every 
sense. The buildings themselves, by which 
Paul was particularly charmed, showed great 
variety of material and form. No two facades 
were alike, but all were graceful, airy, and pro- 
fusely decorated. Some were built of vari-col- 
ored marbles, and others of light-tinted enam- 



226 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

eled bricks, enameled iron, and terra cotta, 
while still others were of white glass or porce- 
lain blocks, encased by a framework of bronze. 

" And now," said Paul, ^' that I have re- 
covered from my first impression of dazed sur- 
prise, I want to ask how this June-like tempera- 
ture is thus maintained in midwinter." 

" That is the question that suggested our 
coming here this afternoon. The sun is the 
only source of heat used. Do you see these 
long lines of dead-black surfaces that are railed 
in between the central arbors and the outer 
passageways? Now look up to the glass roof 
and see the thousands of mirrors there sus- 
pended to the iron framework. Those mirrors 
are so arranged that reflected rays of the sun 
are concentrated directly upon these black sur- 
faces, in the same manner that the mirrors 
played upon the heat generators in the Solar 
Steam-Works. But here, instead of immediately 
transmitting the heat into mechanical force, 
these black accumulators catch it and store it 
up, and deliver it as it is needed." 

" Am I to understand that you can thus re- 
tain the heat for any length of time, and in 
sufficient quantity to maintain the present de- 
gree of heat throughout the year ? " 

" Enough, and to spare. But you shall now 
see for yourself." 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 227 

The young man called an official, and ex- 
plained to him that his companion was a stran- 
ger from a strange land, who had never seen a 
heat accumulator, and asked if he would kindly 
give a test, showing the power of the heat rays. 
The official drew from his pocket a slip of black 
paper and tossed it over the railing upon the 
surface of the accumulator. It immediately be- 
gan to smoke, and in a few seconds burst into 
flame and was reduced to white ashes. 

" The sun is getting low," said the official, 
" and the heat is waning, otherwise the combus- 
tion would have been instantaneous. In another 
half hour we shall cover the accumulators. 
These are the covers," he continued, pointing to 
heavy rolls of thick matting that lay on the 
ground against the railing. " By a touch upon 
an electric button, these blankets are unrolled 
and wrapped about the accumulators, thus help- 
ing to retain the heat, while beneath the surface 
are large masses of heat absorbents, in the form 
of bricks, built up in kiln shape, with air spaces 
between them. The stored air is thereby kept 
in circulation, and all heat imparted from with- 
out is thus absorbed, as water is sucked in by a 
sponge ; while radiation is prevented by confin- 
ing walls of several thicknesses of polished 
metal, which are again covered on the outside 
by a thick body of cotton fibre. By this means, 



228 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

we can retain the heat for many weeks without 
sensible loss ; and it is drawn off in pipes, which 
radiate to all parts of the inclosure and also to 
the interior of the buildings, for use at what- 
ever points it may be needed." 

"It is a great scheme, — a great scheme ! " 
exclaimed Paul. " But now, pray tell me how 
people manage to exist here in midsummer. 
On a July day, about three o'clock in the after- 
noon, I should think they would roast alive." 

"Not at all," replied the attendant. "All 
the glass frames in the roof are pivoted, and 
can be opened at will by the engineer in charge. 
We thus admit or exclude the outer air, as may 
be desired ; and whenever the normal tempera- 
ture is exceeded by even a degree, we open 
pipes containing compressed air stored at Mount 
Energy; and this, having parted with its own 
heat, absorbs so much by expansion that the 
standard degree is restored in a few moments." 

" I suppose your householders also cook by 
the sun's rays ? " said Paul inquiringly. 

"JsTo," answered Marco, "not as a rule, but 
not because they cannot. Some families prefer 
the process by direct concentration ; but hydro- 
gen is our common fuel for cooking, and that 
too is one of the products of Mount Energy, as 
you will no doubt remember." 

" There is one more question I would like to 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 229 

ask. In retaining tlie summer temperature on 
a cold winter day like this, does not the inclosed 
air soon become vitiated by the thousands of 
dwellers here present ? " 

" Not perceptibly," answered Marco, " al- 
though, as I have told you, we outsiders, who 
are not afraid of the rough caresses of the north 
wind, think we discover a lack of life-giving qual- 
ity in this conservatory climate. On the other 
hand, our specialists in the science of health 
find the conditions here peculiarly favorable to 
life. The management employ a large corps of 
intelligent officers, who give constant attention 
to the condition of the air both as to tempera- 
ture and purity ; and they have abundant means 
at command to control it and to prevent its 
becoming vitiated. Several stations, located 
widely apart, contain mechanism for detecting 
and reporting the presence of deleterious gases, 
by means of columns, dials, and sensitive colors, 
and the character of the air can thereby be read 
at a glance, and any defect be promptly reme- 
died." 

" Ah ! that is as it should be. We used to 
be surrounded by invisible enemies that meant 
illness, if not death, and they found access not 
only to our factories and places of amusement, 
but also to our homes. Yet we had at com- 
mand no monitor to warn us of th-eir presence. 



230 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

Our thermometers and hygrometers recorded 
little more than our senses told us. The meters 
we most needed to cry ' Beware I ' when the seeds 
of death hovered about us raid our loved ones, 
— those we lacked." 

" We have filled that lack," said Marco qui- 
etly. " With the same intelligence that we eat, 
we also feed our lungs." 

The sun had now declined until its heat rays 
were no longer serviceable ; and at the tinkle 
of a bell, Paul saw the accumulators hide them- 
selves beneath their blankets. Marco consulted 
his watch, and suggested that they ought now to 
start for home, as dinner-time was approaching. 
W^alking rapidly down the Avenue of Pahns, 
they left behind them groups of flaxen-haire(,^ 
children playing hide-and-seek among tlie tree 
trunks, took a last glance at the canopy of glass, 
asflow with sunset tints that seemed to merg-e 
with the evening sky, and passed between the 
buttressed iron towers and flapping doors to the 
street, where a sudden snow-squall greeted them 
as they drew the carriage robes about their 
knees. 

" I 'm afraid there 's something of the tropi- 
cal plant about me," said Paul, as be sneezed 
and then coughed. 



PART V. 

THE CELESTIAL VISITOR. 



CHAPTER XXVIL 

An Evening at Home. 

The dinner that night, served, as customary, 
from a pneumatic tube, which proved a prompt 
and efficient waiter, was a distinguished success; 
and the animated and cheerful conversation of 
those present speedily banished the mental wea- 
riness which Paul naturally felt after his long 
tour of investigation. 

Of course, the chief subject of conversation 
was the near approach of the great comet. Be- 
fore the coming of to-morrow's daylight, a spec- 
tacle surpassing all glories of the past would 
sweep into view. Before the dawn, the prophecy 
of centuries would become a recorded fact in 
history. Or if — there was an if in the case — 
if the prophecies of certain pessimists were real- 
ized, to-morrow's sun would see the close of 
the world's book of history. Professor Prosper 



232 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

laughed this fear to scorn. " Why, my dear," 
he said to his daughter, "this thing has been 
figured down to such nicety that the course of 
the comet is known as accurately as that of a 
horse around a race-track ; and there is no more 
danger of its disturbing our peace than of the 
horse trampling you in your seat on the grand- 
stand. Nonsense, my dear ! " 

Still, there was a sufficient element of the 
unknown in the matter, and consequently suffi- 
cient possibility of the unexpected, to give that 
triflins: sense of alarm that is not inconsistent 
with pleasurable anticipation, and every eye was 
bright, every cheek flushed. At twenty-two and 
three quarters minutes before three o'clock, the 
celestial visitor would first show its face. One 
hour and eight minutes later, it would flash by. 
Time was getting short. No sleep to-night in 
any part of the world. The close of one era 
was at hand — but would it mark the beginning 
of another ? 

After dinner, the elder daughter exhibited 
the pride of the family, a baby, that for a short 
time completely turned the current of conversa- 
tion and thought from the one great and absorb- 
ing topic. 

" Did you ever, in your day, Mr. Prognosis," 
demanded the young mother, " see a finer little 
fellow than this one ? " 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 233 

" Never, — upon my word, never ! '* 

" Dad, dad, dad," said the baby. 

*' Why, he is actually speaking ! " cried the 
young mother. 

" Mum, mum," continued the baby. 

"Don't you hear it? Say mamma, dearest!" 

" Mum ma," echoed the crowing child. 

The testimony of those present was unani- 
mous that a first step had been taken in the 
direction of acquiring the universal language. 

Paul's attention was next attracted to the 
fact that no lamps of any kind were visible in 
any of the rooms, although they were illumi- 
nated as if by full daylight; and Marco ex- 
plained to him that the electric lamps were con- 
cealed along the lower edge of the frieze, but 
that the frieze itself and the ceiling reflected 
the light throughout the rooms. The finish of 
the walls of the drawing-room afforded another 
subject of conversation. It looked like porce- 
lain, and was chastely ornamented in moulded 
panels, softly tinted with harmonious colors, the 
whole giving an effect of great permanence as 
well as beauty. The Professor now came to 
Marco's assistance, and explained to his visitor 
that the walls were covered with sheets of opaque 
glass, set in cement, the edges of the sheets 
being turned down so as to hold them in place 
with great firmness. The ornaments on the 



234 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

panels and mouldings were made separately and 
fused on, and the colors were absolutely fast, 
ha vino- been fixed in the furnace. 

" The use of glass, then," said Paul, " is by 
no means confined to j^our exteriors." 

" Not at all ! We employ it wherever prac- 
ticable, as it insures cleanliness as well as per- 
manence, and is always beautiful. As I have 
already told you, this is often spoken of as the 
Diamond Age, and glass is its rejiresentative 
that we use in architecture." 

Many exquisite works of art decorated the 
drawing-room, in which Paul manifested much 
interest. The paintings especially were mar- 
vels of drawing and color ; and numerous prod- 
ucts in metal, stone, and wood contributed to 
make the room a veritable art museum. 

" You are evidently a lover of the beautiful," 
said Madam Prosper. " We have a glass screen 
that we prize highly, which I am sure will inter- 
est you. Professor^ I think you must have for- 
gotten to show Mr. Prognosis the screen." 

"True; but I will immediately retrieve the 
fault.'^ 

The drawing-room was divided into two sec- 
tions by a wide archway ; and from one side, as 
if it were a sliding door, the old gentleman pro- 
ceeded to draw a pictured screen, until it filled 
the entire open space. The pictures were in 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 235 

panels, set in a skeleton frame of metal, and 
they struck Paul as being beyond comparison 
the most unique and exquisite he had ever seen. 
Curtains were so arranged that one picture 
might be viewed while the others were concealed. 
Upon close examination, the guest found that 
these pictures were in some unknown way ex- 
ecuted in glass, and that they were transparen- 
cies ; but they had none of the raw coloring of 
stained glass. 

" What ! " he exclaimed, " is it possible that 
these are photographs of pictures, and that you 
are now able to photograph color as well as 
form?" 

" That we can do," responded the Professor, 
" and in my library you will find portfolios of 
photographs in color which are almost as life- 
like as the objects themselves. But another 
process has been used in this instance. The de- 
signs shown on these glass panels were painted 
by Artean, the greatest genius in pictorial art, 
and especially in color, that the world has thus 
far known. The originals were cross -ruled, 
and the entire surface divided into minute hexa- 
gons. Small hexagonal plugs of glass, of all 
possible shades of color and degrees of opacit}^ 
were then selected, classified, numbered, and ar- 
ranged in cases, much the same as a printer's 
tjpes are kept. A mosaic picture was then 



236 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

formed, giving an effect as nearly as possible 
like the original painting. This was done on 
a bed of fire-clay, held firmly in j^lace by an 
iron casing, protected by clay, placed in a fur- 
nace, and fused by a downward blast of hydro- 
gen. By careful fusing, the colors, as you see, 
have been made to blend so as to perfectly 
obscure the union of the hexagons and leave 
this solid sheet of glass. It was then taken 
from the furnace, and delicately ground and 
polished." 

'' The effect is certainly very novel and charm- 
ing." 

" Yes ; and you will observe that it can be 
seen with equal advantage by transmitted or 
surface light ; but the effect is totally changed." 

The Professor led his visitor to the other side 
of the screen, and continued : " There, you will 
notice that you can see it with the light on 
either or both sides, and that an infinite variety 
of effects is thus produced. Madam considers 
finest the one I obtain by thus covering the ter- 
restrial objects with an opaque screen on the 
further side, and then withdrawing the light to 
a low point before the face of the picture, thus 
gradually lowering the degree of transmitted 
light. See ! we are now introduced to all the 
varying effects of sunset and twilight, and in a 
manner wonderfully true to nature. Now, the 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 237 

black outlines of the hills, woods, and edifices 
stand out in sharp contrast against the back- 
ground of evening sky, which is as clear and 
transparent as in nature itself. And now, when 
the twilight is very dim, I can increase the front 
light until we have the effect of moonlight. 
Is it not beautiful? And we can still further 
vary the result by interposing colored glasses 
before the light, producing a red or yellow 
sunset, or the bluish white of moonlight. We 
sometimes make such experiments to amuse 
visitors, and 1 assure you I am thereby able to 
present quite a varied picture gallery." 

" You have already done that," said Paul, 
" and it is altogether a new experience to one of 
your audience." 

Music was then proposed, and all present pro- 
ceeded to the music-room, where the elder daugh- 
ter seated herself before an instrument having 
keys and pedals, that somewhat resembled an 
organ. " Is this an organ or a piano ? " he 
asked. 

" We call it an eolia. Do you play, Mr. 
Prognosis? If so, please try, and you will be 
better able than I am to compare it with the 
instruments you have named." 

With some confusion Paul seated himself on 
the seat she vacated ; and in response to the 
earnest requests of all, he played a simple adap- 



238 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

tatioii of the national hymn, "America." To his 
surprise, he found himself quite enchanted by his 
own music. The result was quite unexpected. 
Each chord gave forth a rich, mellow note, as of 
a stroke followed by a prolonged tone, which 
ceased only when the pressure was removed. 
When he pressed a key gently, a soft violin 
tone followed, without any noticeable stroke ; 
and when the pressure was increased, the tone 
also increased, its volume evidently depending 
upon the degree of force employed. 

" Well, well ! " he exclaimed, " you have com- 
bined the organ and the piano, and so perfected 
this union of the two that you have given the 
instrument expression. It has feeling now." 

He repeated the same thought more emphati- 
cally after listening to the wonderful music with 
which the ladies entertained him. 

'^ Can I see the mechanism by which this 
much-desired result of expression is obtained ? " 
he asked, later in the evening. 

The Professor replied by uncovering the 
strings and exposing the action to view. The 
strings were arranged in pairs ; and, like a piano, 
it had hammers, while, in addition, each pair of 
strings had a little tongue pressing up between 
them, encased with a soft cover. These tongues 
were made to vibrate rapidly by electrical 
agency, striking the strings with more or less 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 239 

force as the current was strong or light ; and 
the strength of this current was determined by 
the pressure on the key. 

" I understand the general principle," said 
Paul, " and I will not trouble you to describe 
the electrical apparatus ; but please show me the 
slide, as I do not understand how the particular 
note struck can be acted upon while the others 
are not, for of course it cannot be that all the 
strings are raised and lowered at once." 

'-'• Certainly not ; but you shall see. There, if 
you will look here, you will find that each pair 
of strings rest at this point end upon a smooth 
roller, slightly grooved to keep them in position. 
This roller is carried backward and forward 
through a short space by a simple connection 
with two pedals, one of which raises the pitch 
and the other lowers it. Only the note struck is 
aif ected by the pedal. To accomplish this simply 
and effectually, much time and ingenuity have 
been expended upon it, but it is now a very per- 
fect house instrument." 

"It is indeed," said Paul. " I do not think I 
fully understand the mechanism ; but the result 
is certainly satisfactory." 

" Now, if you are ready," said the Professor, 
" we will take a smoke in the library, and dis- 
cuss the subject we laid on the table last night." 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

The Administration of Law. 

As the Professor banded his guest a cigar, he 
suddenly exclaimed : " I have it at last ! Mr. 
Prognosis, ever since I first saw you, in that sin- 
gular costume in which you abruptly presented 
yourself day before yesterday, you have vaguely 
reminded me of some one known before, and 
familiarly known ; but I have been unable to 
individualize your counterpart. As you rose 
to take that cigar, the fact suddenly came to 
me that that counterpart is my old friend, Tom 
Glide. Dear old Tom ! — he was a schoolmate 
of mine: but I haven't seen him for over forty 
years. When we parted, I felt that a large piece 
of my pleasure in life had gone with him ; and 
now — why, I fear I have n't given him a thought 
for ten years. I really must have a word vvitli 
him to-night, if he is alive." 

" Have a word with him ? But how is that 
possible? Surely, you don't mean to say that 
you have realized the wildest of dreams that pos- 
sessed the nineteenth century, and developed 
mesmeric messengers ? " 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 241 

" Not at all. I shall merely use human agen- 
cies of the simplest description. But as the sys- 
tem is no doubt wholly new to you, I will explain 
it. In these days, although the population vastly 
exceeds that of your time, every human being is 
a matter of consequence to the general public as 
well as to himself, and the public has taken means 
of identifying its units. Every person, on arriv- 
ing at manhood or womanhood, is assigned what 
is known as a ' census signature,' — so called be- 
cause its adoption grew out of the demands of 
the enumeration of the people each decade. This 
'census signature' is made up of letters and 
numerals like an algebraic formula, and denotes 
the city or town of the person's nativity, the 
name of his family, and the year of his birth. 
No two signatures are ever precisely alike, so 
that identity is assured ; and all such signatures 
are carefully registered, and copies are kept at 
certain stations for ready reference by the pub- 
lic. When a person changes his place of resi- 
dence, the law requires that he shall register 
at the proper office his ' census signature ' and 
place of destination. He thus leaves behind him 
a thread that may be speedily followed, even 
after the lapse of many years. We will now try 
the experiment, and see whether we can obtain 
a response from Tom Glide. His signature, 
as it appears in this old address-book of mine, is 



242 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

* A, m, M, 220, L, 22.' Here, Marco, I wish 
you would be so kind as to take this over to the 
nearest census office, and ask them to look uj) the 
respondent and jjut me in communication with 
him, — to-night, if possible, though the present 
excitement may make this inexpedient. Or you 
might first attempt to telegraph direct from here. 
If he is still alive and the means of communica- 
tion are all open, we ought to be able to see him 
in an hour or so." 

" See him, Professor ? " asked Paul wonder- 
ingly. 

" Yes ; that was not a lapsus linguce. Have 
a little patience, Mr. Prognosis, and you may 
j^erhaps also have the pleasure of seeing Tom 
Glide." 

" Glide was my wife's maiden name," re- 
marked Paul absently. " Well, sir," he added, 
" if my privilege still holds good, I will begin 
our evening's talk by asking you how it came 
about that such a city as this, and such mar- 
velous j>ublic works as you and Marco have 
shown me, were constructed. Possibly, in my 
day, the world did business on a very limited 
capital as compared with that you possess ; but 
if cities and public works like these now abound 
all over the world, caj^ital alone cannot explain 
their existence. A new kind or quality of pub- 
lic spirit must be behind all. I refer par- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 243 

ticularly to the Peace Monument and the Old 
Bridge, which must have cost vast expenditures 
of money and time. The form of government 
inaugurated by the Costorian movement you 
have described would, I should think, involve 
considerations of economy that would forbid all 
works where decoration forms a leading fea- 
ture ; and under such a truly democratic con- 
dition of affairs as you now appear to have, it 
can hardly be possible that private means can 
effect such results." 

" You are right," said the Professor, " as far 
as you go. But we must go back further. First, 
you must understand that, at the time of the 
proclamation of universal peace, the various gov- 
ernments of the world possessed an enormous 
amount of property in the way of war-ships, 
armaments, forts, arsenals, and the like. These 
had been sustained and augmented by heavy 
taxes on the people. Moreover, great numbers 
of the people were maintained in compulsory 
idleness in the standing armies. With the in- 
auguration of peace, one of the first questions 
that arose was, what to do with the war mate- 
rial, that was now useless, and what to do with 
the soldiers, whose education had hardly fitted 
them for the pursuits of peace, — indeed, had 
unfitted them to immediately wear the yoke of 
individual responsibility. It was finally deter- 



2i4 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

mined to let the usual revenues accumulate for 
a time, and to sell all government property that 
was now useless ; and with the vast fund thus 
supplied, the Government employed the armies 
about to be disbanded, without wholly relaxing 
the former military rules, in building a variety 
of works of public utility and monuments in 
commemoration of the beneficent peace enact- 
ment. But this did not begin to exhaust the 
fund. Universities of learning were established 
and richly endowed, extraordinary works of in- 
ternal improvement were undertaken, art re- 
ceived an unprecedented stimulus, and all indus- 
trial pursuits were marked by healthful activity. 
And still, in spite of steady decrease in taxes, 
the fund as steadily increased. Then, as Gov- 
ernment and people drew closer in their mutual 
relations, the interests of the two began slowly 
to be merged. Even in your day, it was one 
of the signs of the times that small interests 
were beginning to be absorbed by corporations, 
and those by giant monopolies. By slow and 
peaceful steps the same movement progressed, 
until the Government itself came into possession 
of such industries as were of peculiarly public 
interest, including all means of communication 
and transportation, and life and fire insurance ; 
and the land question was settled in the same 
manner." 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 245 

" Certainly, the fund must speedily have been 
exhausted in that process." 

" Only temporarily, for the investment proved 
remunerative ; and later on, the surplus still 
further increased. The Government simply as- 
sumed all responsibility, and guaranteed a cer- 
tain rate of interest to former proprietors for a 
certain period. No capital at all was required, 
excepting sufficient to meet the interest account, 
and this was covered many times ov^er by the 
returns." 

" Did not this result in great injustice to in- 
dividuals ? " 

" Not at all. If it had, the movement would 
not have succeeded, for the public conscience 
had been quickened by Costor to regard truth 
and justice as foundation-stones in erecting the 
new structure of society. Of course the process 
was a slow one, and it continued through sev- 
eral generations ; but the first step was hardest. 
The others followed more or less naturally. 
Under Grant's presidency, it seemed perfectly 
proper and just that the Government should 
conduct the postal service. Was it any less 
proper and just that it should conduct the 
telegraph, telephone, railway, and express ser- 
vice ? And was n't it equally desirable that 
the Government should sufficiently control the 
supply and distribution of food products, that 



246 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

no man or clique of men should be able to put 
the hand on these and say, ' This wheat is mine, 
and no man shall eat of it until he has paid 
me my price ' ? That is not an exaggeration of 
what used to happen in the nineteenth century, 
if we correctly understand the records." 

" I fear they are only too clear. But how 
about the land ? " 

" That was absorbed by the Government in 
just the same manner, by guaranteeing interest 
to previous owners and re-letting on equitable 
terms. At this point, the best skill of the best 
jurists of the world was required ; but long be- 
fore the^ scheme of leasing was perfected, it w^as 
recognized as far more just than the former 
method of land-tenure laws, which permitted 
individuals and corporations to monopolize a 
large portion of the world's most desirable dis- 
tricts for their own benefit or amusement. As 
we now look upon it, air, water, sunshine, and 
land are peculiarly the people's own, and it is 
with great difficulty that we can understand a 
state of society in which individuals were per- 
mitted to exercise any control over them." 

" And you say that all these changes were 
made peaceably ? " 

" Yes ; they could hardly have been made 
otherwise. The work was a slow one ; it had to 
be done one step at a time, and public opinion 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 247 

was required to time each step. Whenever 
public opinion halted in giving its approval to a 
proposed step, the movement halted Any vio- 
lence at any stage of the proceedings, or any 
attempt to make unhealthy haste, would have 
retarded the movement indefinitely. It grew as 
a tree, each limb of which naturally stretches 
out new limbs, and each new limb pushes forth 
twiofs and leaves. The trunk of this tree was 
established by John Costor, and its root was 
truth." 

'' This was certainly," said Paul, " a great 
stride in the evolution of social science." 

"Yes; it is now referred to as the 'Transi- 
tion Period,' as distinguished from the ' Experi- 
mental Period,' to which you belonged." 

" And now," said Paul, " if your mind is not 
too much taken up by the near approach of the 
great event, let me remind you of your promise 
to tell me something about your present form 
of government, and especially of your law sys- 
tem." 

" As to the great event,'' said the Professor, 
" that will only speed my tongue in the telling. 
To speak the truth, according to the behest of 
this crystal button on my lapel, — which, you 
may have noticed, I removed for a few moments 
during dinner, — I must confess that, for several 
days past, I have felt something of that nervous- 



248 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

ness that probably always precedes the termina- 
tion of some great work on which one has long 
been eno'a2:ed. It was for this reason that I 
preferred to have Marco accompany you to-day. 
Madam alone knows my anxiety ; and by her 
advice, I have taken a long nap this afternoon. 
I therefore feel perfectly rested and in a mood 
for conversation. You see, my reputation as an 
accurate mathematician depends largely on the 
occurrences of this night. I have placed myself 
on record in the most unequivocal terms as to 
the course this comet will follow. All other 
leading astronomers are also on record. To- 
night the test will be applied. I must also con- 
fess to you that there are pessimists, even in 
this forty-ninth century, who do not take the 
brightest views of to-morrow, but who, on the 
contrary, boldly prophesy that there will be no 
to-morrow. For this reason, I have preferred to 
have all my family with me here to-night, and 
have declined to be present with my scientific 
co-workers at the Meridian Peak Observatory, 
where, as you saw, the most elaborate prepara- 
tions have been made for observing and record- 
ing every phenomenon of to-night. My teles(;ope 
on the terrace, which you will see presently, is a 
comparatively small one ; but I prefer to have 
my family about me in case — in case — But 
let us now give our whole attention for a few 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 249 

moments to the general structure of our govern- 
ment. 

*'In tbe first place, please understand that 
the PTOvernment of the continent of North 
America is merely an integral part of the great 
structure which composes the world's govern- 
ment, just as one of your States was of the 
United States of Washington. All are based 
on precisely the same laws and principles; all 
are based on truth, which includes honesty, sim- 
plicity, and -efficiency. In our law-courts, for 
instance, we no longer have to trust our interests 
to more or less accidental verdicts of irrespon- 
sible juries ; we no longer blush at the special 
pleading of counsel and the desperate efforts of 
men of eminent ability profaning their position 
to defeat the ends of justice by their arts of per- 
suasion. We no longer listen to impassioned ap- 
peals to the emotions in behalf of known crim- 
inals, — even criminals who have admitted their 
crimes, — or to the badgering and brow^beat- 
ins: and character-blackening of innocent wdt- 
nesses. You will easily understand that much 
has been accomplished since your day, when I 
tell you that we now have no lawyers, no plead- 
ings, no juries, no appeals, no exceptions taken, 
no pardons, and no favors on account of wealth 
or social position. Justice to-day is indeed 
blind, as you used to portray her." 



250 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" But how, then, are your laws administered ? 
— for you certainly must have laws, and very 
elaborate ones, that need frequent exposition." 

" I will give you an example, to illustrate the 
mode of procedure in a civil suit. John Doe 
charges Richard Roe with conspiracy in a cer- 
tain business transaction, by which, it is alleged, 
said Doe has been defrauded. He goes to the 
Board of Examiners, which consists of three, 
five, or seven men, according to the importance of 
the case. These examiners summon the parties 
in dispute, listen to the statements of both, take 
evidence, and very carefully gather all facts in 
the case, which are committed to phonograph 
• — to three phonographs — and distributed to 
three independent boards of judges for decision. 
The names of the contestants are not known to 
the judges, and the latter are usually far re- 
moved from the locality of the interested parties. 

" When the decisions of the three boards are 
returned to the proper office, the three packets 
are opened in the presence of the contestants, 
and two out of three concurring decide the 
case beyond appeal, unless new facts afterward 
come to light. The examiners have the power 
to dismiss trivial complaints as unworthy of 
notice, and they also perform a valuable service 
in correcting errors in preliminary papers, and 
oftentimes as arbitrators in effecting compro- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 251 

mises between those who would otherwise invoke 
the court. Unlike the old-time lawyers, they are 
in truth legal advisers ; and they have no temp- 
tation to pervert the law or to delay it for their 
own emolument. All examiners and judges are 
educated for the offices they hold, and have been 
selected from students in the universities by rea- 
son of their special fitness, both as to abilities 
and temj)erament, to do justice to their lofty 
calling. The priests of old were not more ven- 
erated than these men ; and, indeed, their posi- 
tion and its duties are not dissimilar from those 
of priests, excepting that the code they give in- 
struction from is human. 

"You will notice that, by the mode of pro- 
cedure I have described, no outside influence of 
any kind can reach the real tribunal, as all con- 
testants are designated by names applied ac- 
cording to a regular formula, which is simply 
an amplification of the John Doe and Eichard 
Roe that have figured in law for so many cen- 
turies. In obscure cases, new evidence may be 
demanded by the judges, or the parties may 
have leave to withdraw the suit; but if John 
Doe has a decision in his favor, then Kichard 
Roe must make restitution in full and pay costs 
of trial. The costs, however, are very small, as 
all officers are paid by the Government, and the 
testimony is caught direct by the phonograph, 



252 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

instead of being laboriously taken down by ste- 
nography, and then copied by hand or the print- 
ing-press. With a few slight variations, this 
same system is used for all kinds of cases that 
are brought before the Department of Justice." 

" Small pickings here," said Paul, "" for 
members of the bar. Sergeant Buzzfuzz would 
hardly find scope for plying his vocation, and 
his moving appeals would sound sadly out of 
place." 

" The laws themselves," continued the Profes- 
sor, " are as simple as their administration. No 
new ones have been enacted for several centu- 
ries past, but those pronounced just by the most 
learned judges were long ago codified, and the 
code now in use throughout the world may be 
called the ' Code of Common Sense, founded on 
Truth.' Moreover, the penalties for criminal 
acts are sure to fall upon the offender, if con- 
victed. They are sometimes severe, but they 
are felt to be proper and necessary, and they 
can never be set aside at the caprice of any one 
claiming powers superior to those of the judges. 
They are so clearly determined and executed on 
a basis of justice that they are even respected 
by those who suffer them." 

" But," exclaimed Paul excitedly, " if you 
make no new laws, you have no law-makers, and 
no need of them ; and if no law-makers, then 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 253 

no legislative bodies ; and if no legislatures, 
then no elections, no voting, no parties, no poli- 
tics, no politicians ! " 

" Your deductions are correct," said the Pro- 
fessor, smiling ; " and you may extend your list 
of defunct officials by adding generals, admirals, 
custom-house inspectors, kings, emperors, or 
even presidents ; for, in the ancient sense, there 
are now no well-defined boundaries for official 
domain other than municipal." 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

The Government of Settled Forms. 

At this point, Madam entered the room, and 
with her own hands served the gentlemen with 
coffee. " The whole world is in the open air," 
she said. " Will you join us soon on the 
porch ? " 

" Very soon, dear," answered the Professor, 
as she retired. 

*'You do not add," said Paul, "that you no 
longer have any governments, although I almost 
expected to hear you append that to your list 
of outlived institutions. Please tell me, have 
you a government or not ? " 

The Professor smiled, and then, after a short 
pause that lent emphasis to what followed, he 
added seriously : " Yes, Mr. Prognosis, we in- 
deed have a government — the simplest, the 
strongest, the most effective, the most enduring 
government that the world has thus far known, 
which has been slowly evolved out of the needs 
of the people. Yet if you should seek for its 
head, in the person of a single man, you would 




THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 255 

find none, for there is none. This is a govern- 
ment of established forms. These forms time 
has fixed inflexibly in the minds and consciences 
of the people. All the methods of administra- 
tion have been carefully considered, and gradu- 
allv shorn of objectionable features ; and, so far 
as human wisdom can provide, they are the 
best possible forms suitable to existing circum- 
stances. To distinguish it from all predeces- 
sors, this is called ' The Go vernment of Settled 
Forms.' " 

" I begin to understand," said Paul : " the fit- 
test survive, in the forms of law and common 
usage, as well as with plants and animals. But 
what a vast army of civilians you must have dis- 
banded in the process — greater, perhaps, than 
in case of the armies and navies. What, in the 
name of gentility, is left for the poor fellows 
who have no money, and who really need a com- 
fortable position, with a good fat salary, and lit- 
tle or nothing to do ? Something of this kind 
was a prime necessity in my time. I recall ar- 
mies of blind tinkers who infested our state 
capitals and even our national capital — blind 
as bats to demands of public service, but sharp 
enough in self-seeking ; everlastingly tinkering 
the laws, repealing the good, enacting the bad ; 
forever puncturing the good old Government 
kettle for the express purpose of patching it 



256 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

with baser metal. Think, too, of oratory, — how 
that must have suffered ! No more occasion for 
those splendid pleas of the lawyers who some- 
times chained the wrapt attention of the court 
for weeks at a time, in their attempts to so mis- 
represent or misinterpret law and justice that 
neither should by any chance be recognizable by 
equity. Think, too, of the buncombe speeches 
delivered in Congress, which so amused the na- 
tion by manner that their utter lack of matter 
was forgiven ; and the eloquent stump speeches 
of the politicians, so filled with sparkling wit and 
spicy stories that they often succeeded in disguis- 
ing the painful fact that the utterer of such 
views deserved horsewhipping rather than ap- 
plause. It is sad — very sad ! " he concluded 
reflectively, but with an expression of great sat- 
isfaction. 

The Professor regarded Paul with an amused 
twinkle in his eyes : " Yes, it is true that many 
former occupations are gone ; but some are still 
ieft — enough to occupy all the time and thought 
of our best thinkers and workers. I assure you 
there is no lack of work in these days. The 
only difference now is, that we all lend a hand 
in doing the necessary work, and we actually 
accomplish what we undertake, instead of play- 
ing with it. The public service still has its 
coveted positions to offer, but they are no sine- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 257 

cures. They are only reached through the high> 
way of a long course of preparatory experience ; 
and they are only held by those who give ample 
and constant evidence that they are capable of 
filling them and are faithful to their responsi- 
bilities. Arbitrary appointment or dismissal at 
the caprice of a person totally unacquainted with 
the official involved or with the duties of his of- 
fice, as we read was common in your day, we 
should consider a gross insult to the common 
sense of the people, as well as an infringement 
of the simplest rules of government. Our rep- 
resentatives are what the name implies : they 
simply represent the best talent that is avail- 
able for the office, — talent that has been spe- 
cially chosen, cultivated, and trained for the pur- 
pose of adapting it to the duties of that particu- 
lar office. Public service is now a career of the 
highest honor, and every public servant glories 
in the inscription of his badge of office, which 
bears the words: 'I serve.' Positions of re- 
sponsibility are no longer subject to the acci- 
dents of a capricious popular vote, which, as I 
study the records, seldom stumbled upon firm 
ground until it had so woefully wandered into 
the bog that it must turn back or be engulfed. 
Please understand that, in this scientific age, we 
leave just as little as possible to accident, or to 
the individual judgment of any human being. 



258 TUE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

We arm hiui with proper authority, when he has 
proved himself worthy of it, but we also arm 
him with ample knowledge of his duties and the 
prestige of settled and recognized forms, vvhich 
are in reality merely the crystallized experience 
of the past. The Government of Settled Forms 
is very simple, and needs no tinkering. It is 
universal, having been accepted by all nations. 
It knows nothing of the uncertainties of law- 
making, and I am glad to tell you that it 
knows very little of law- breaking, for law-break- 
ing is no longer amusing or profitable — no 
longer honorable." 

" But neither was it in the nineteenth cen- 
tury." 

"Are you sure of that? If so, then your 
public journals must have sadly misrepresented 
the condition of things. They ring the changes 
up and down the full gamut of possible law- 
breaking, and they seem to prove conclusively 
that your rich men and your men high in office 
usually attained their positions through paths 
more or less crooked, and consequently more 
or less opposed to law, which means rectitude," 

" That is only too true. And yet. Professor, 
the Government of the United States was the 
best in tlie world." 

" That also was true, and it was true even 
in your time. But it had one serious defect. 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 259 

It was well adapted to a small, homogeneous, 
educated, and law-abiding community, where 
the majority could be depended ujDon to repre- 
sent intelligence and virtue. Mere majorities, 
mere numerical strength, — this means nothing, 
of itself. It may mean the voice of vice, or, 
what is nearly as bad, indifference or ignorance. 
Such it finally came to mean, when the pros- 
perity of your country invited to its open doors 
the adventurers and outcasts of the rest of the 
world, who, with their countless languages, con- 
flicting customs and religions, and minds wholly 
untrained to the duties and responsibilities of 
their new position, produced the most medley 
and rabble population that any government ever 
attempted to control. And the reins of govern- 
ment were placed in the hands of these debased 
majorities. My dear Mr. Prognosis, the experi- 
ment was as futile as it was philanthropic, and 
results so proved it. The time came when the 
sacred freedom of the ballot had to be protected 
by more and more stringent laws, until the bal- 
ance of power could be assured to the saving 
minority who knew right from wrong and lib- 
erty from license. The noble principles of its 
founders were established on truth, and they 
have consequently outlived all buffets of for- 
tune, and are engrafted more or less on our pre- 
sent system ; but they required the exercise of 



260 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

wisdom in their application. The history of 
your early government is very instructive, and 
the world has profited by it in many ways ; but 
it is a remarkable fact that the most highly 
commended provisions of your first successful 
experiment in constitutional government should 
have proved its weak points in practice, permit- 
ting those who had been brutalized by want and 
tyranny in other countries to turn its dignity 
to derision. As we now look back, it seems 
probable that only Costor, with his gospel of 
truth, prevented its disruption and downfall in 
his day. 

" But all difficulties of the past, so far as gov- 
ernment is concerned, are now happily ended, 
and rendered impossible hereafter by the simple 
operation of the Government of Settled Forms. 
There can be no general disturbance of the pub- 
lic in these days, for the simple reason that edu- 
cation of an advanced type is now universal, all 
men and women are usefully employed, and 
there is no school of poverty or vice for develop- 
ing a discontented class. Moreover, the popula- 
tion has again become homogeneous, with com- 
mon customs, needs, language, religion, aims, 
ambitions. If we were called upon now to trust 
the decision of momentous questions to the nod 
of majorities, we could safely do so ; but there 
is no longer any such need. The initial ques- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 261 

tions have been determined in tlie stormy past. 
We are now enjoying the results, and peacefully 
developing details. 

" I have explained the workings of the Depart- 
ment of Justice. The other elements of our gov- 
ernment may be classed as the departments of 
Education, Public Health, Agriculture, Meteo- 
rology, and Public Works. These are general 
in character, and the sub-departments are local 
in their operation, but under the direction of Di- 
vision Councils, who in turn are guided by the 
decisions of the Grand Council of the World. 

" The duties of the Department of Education 
are obvious, and need no explanation. That of 
Public Health has absolute control of everything 
pertaining to the sanitary condition of the peo- 
ple, such as the purification of rivers, water sup- 
ply, disposition of refuse and its useful employ- 
ment, and the location and character of all 
places of habitation. 

" The Department of Agriculture determines 
the amount of seed to be sown each year, and 
the number of animals to be raised, to meet the 
requirements of the world. This department 
maintains the food conservatories of which I 
have already spoken, which are always amply 
supplied with a surplus, to compensate for short 
crops. In short, its duty is to see that the world 
has plenty to eat. 



262 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" The Department of Meteorology determines 
the proportion of forest growth to tillage land, 
and indicates to the Department of Public 
Works means of imj^roving the climate, and, to 
some extent, of equalizing the rainfall. You are 
probably not aware of the fact, but we are now 
able, by electrical disturbance on a large scale, to 
artificially produce a local shower ; and there is 
good reason to suppose that we may some time 
learn how to control supplies of moisture in the 
upper strata of the atmosphere with almost the 
same assurance that we now look to the depths 
of the earth, through driven tubes, for all sup- 
plies of water used for domestic purposes. You 
will readily understand that, with our present 
population, our rivers and lakes, even under the 
most stringent precautions, could not safely be 
depended upon to fill this need. Even in your 
day a considerable number of prevailing diseases 
were unquestionably due to the use of impure 
water. Your scientists understood this, but your 
public servants apparently made little use of the 
knowledge. Men of the very highest attain- 
ments are now engaged in this department of 
the public service ; and their w^ork, wdiich is 
comprehensive, has already produced results of 
the greatest importance to our physical well-be- 
ing." 



CHAPTER XXX. 
Money. 

Marco now entered, and introduced a sudden 
turn in the current of conversation by announ- 
ciiie- that Tom Glide had been heard from, and 
that he was now living in the metropolis of Vol- 
vec, on the Amazon. 

" I was obliged to wait," said Marco, " until 
he finished his dinner ; but he is now at leisure, 
and says he is anticipating great pleasure in re- 
newing acquaintance with an old school-friend. 
The circuit is open, and you will find all pre- 
pared. Mr. Glide presents his compliments, 
and he is now ready to see you and to be seen." 

Paul heard these last words with open- 
mouthed wonder, but, without speaking, followed 
the Professor into a small room adjoining the 
library. The latter advanced to a box, open at 
one end ; and, after so adjusting the electric 
light as to bear strongly on his own face, he be- 
gan to talk into the box. Meanwhile, Marco di- 
rected Paul to look over the Professor's shoulder ; 
and he then saw, on a glass screen, the image 



264 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

of a man's face, just as it appears in a pliotog"- 
raj^her's camera. It was Mr. Glide, down in 
South America. Paul distinctly saw Mr. Glide's 
eager smile of greeting-, heard him speak, and 
then listened as the two friends talked over old 
times. He also heard Mr. Glide ask the name 
of the gentleman who was looking over the 
other's shoulder ; at which remark, not knowing 
what else to do, Paul nodded to the pictured 
face, and received a similar oTeetinsr in return. 

*' Why ! that looks wonderfully like my sis- 
ter's husband, Paul Prognosis," exclaimed the 
face in the box. 

Both Paul and the Professor gave responsive 
exclamations of astonis|iment, and Marco stum- 
bled over Smudge in his eagerness to reach the 
instrument to hear more. Before there was an 
opportunity to demand explanation, a confused 
murmur of voices was heard, and a sharp ^' Be 
quiet ! " followed by the words, " Please come 
here a moment. Dr. Clarkson. I want to have 
the pleasure of making you acquainted with my 
old friend. Professor Prosper, and also with a 
friend of his — Excuse me, I do not know his 
name." 

Then came another interruption, followed by 
an abrupt '' Beg pardon, but I find I '11 have 
to cut short this pleasure, in order to join my 
family and be in time for the comet display. Of 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 



265 



course you are also interested in that above all 
things, just now. Philip, I shall ring you up 
again in a day or two. Do the same by me, — 
soon and often. Good-night, old boy ! " 

'^ But Tom, — just a moment ! " cried the I'ro- 

tessor 

"Just a moment, Mr. Glide!" echoed Paul 

still more excitedly. 

But it was too late. The circuit had already 
been broken, leaving Mr. Glide in South Amer- 
ica, and the new mystery unsolved. ^ 

" Very strange ! " said Paul. " How is that to 

be explained ? " , , d 

"I'm quite in the dark," answered^ the Pro. 
fessor. " I look to you for a solution." 

" But I was never less capable of solving any- 
thing, excepting, perhaps, this most marvelous 
of all instruments, that has so weirdly presented 
to my eyes ghosts of the past in which I once 
lived. I believe your friend Glide to be my 
brother-in-law, and I know his friend Dr. Clark- 
son perfectly well. Why, I spent the evening 
with the doctor not a week ago." 

" Three thousand years and a week, perhaps. 
" Perhaps. I confess I am a little dazed, and 
hardly know what to think." 

" We had better, then, adjourn our talk about 
government until to-morrow evening, — that is, 
hi case we are still spared to be here." 



260 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" In case we are not, there is one point I 
would first like to have explained, Professor. 
I have now been with you two days, and have 
neither seen nor heard a word about money. 
Have you happily learned to dispense with the 
' root of all evil ' ? " 

" No. That was dreamt of by the theorists, 
but never realized. We find it a necessity as 
a ready means of exchange." 

" But why is it that I have no visible evi- 
dence of its existence ? " 

" Simply because, in your excursions with 
Marco and myself, no demand has happened 
to arise requiring the use of exchange. AYhen 
we call a thing public, we mean that it is the 
property of the Government — that is, of the 
people ; and it is consequently free. The pub- 
lic conveyances we have used are all free. The 
dinner we took at the restaurant is the only 
exception I now recall ; that will be charged 
to my account, and settled at the end of the 
month." 

"Settled with what?" 

" With money." 

" And what kind of money ? " 

" Paper money, very similar to that you were 
accustomed to use." 

" Government paper ? " 

" Exactly." 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 267 

" Based on gold as a standard ? " 

" No ! Just there we liave made an impor- 
tant change. Experience showed that no one 
article, however rare or precious, could be de- 
pended upon as an unvarying standard of value. 
In centuries closely following your own, the 
scanty fresh supplies of gold were quite out of 
proportion to the increase of population ; and, 
as a consequence, the purchasing power of the 
actual metal far exceeded that of preceding gen- 
erations. Then, again, in the later Volcanic 
Period, when the whole orb was convTilsed and 
the Continent of Atlantis was restored to us, 
fresh deposits of the metal were disclosed, so 
abundant that for a time it lost its distinction 
as a so-called ' precious metal,' and came into 
common use even for household purposes. 
That settled its pretensions, and a new and 
more stable standard of valuation was neces- 
sarily sought. The search was a long one, and 
accompanied by many disastrous experiments ; 
but the result finally attained has proved en- 
tirely satisfactory. One of the first important 
acts of the Congress of Nations was the adop- 
tion of a new and universal unit of valuation, 
based upon the w^orld's surplus of food pro- 
ducts, as accurately reported each decade, pro- 
portionate to the world's population at the same 
date. The result of the computation sometimes 



268 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

shows a slight variation ; but this is trifling, as 
reduction from any cause in one item or in any 
one section of the globe is nearly always coun- 
terbalanced by increase in others. Moreover, 
the ten years' period for which each standard is 
fixed is sufficiently long to allow the conditions 
to become known to the public and to be fully 
discounted ; and there is consequently no possi- 
ble danjrer of sudden revulsions in valuation. 
Do you understand ? Government certificates, 
based on such surplus food products and guar- 
anteed by them, are the current medium of ex- 
chansfe throuohout the world ; and each such 
certificate jnelds quarterly interest to the holder. 
This is intended to encourage the habit of sav- 
ing, which is no longer liable to unhealthy de- 
velopment, inasmuch as money has now been 
shorn of most of the powers and privileges that 
once made it a despot." 

" You no longer, then, have rich men ? " 

" Oh, yes ; but we no longer regard them with 
envy. On the contrary, they command not only 
our respect, but our sympathy. They have a 
right, during lifetime, to all they can lawfully 
accumulate, though that is little compared with 
what was possible in former times." 

" Why so, when present resources are so 
much greater ? " 

'' For many reasons, but principally because 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 269 

the establishment of a medium of exchanfre hav- 
ing an absokitely fixed purchasing power dealt 
a deathblow to speculation. Any attempt to 
artificially raise or lower values would now be 
vain ; and it is only under circumstances where 
values are variable that any one man, or clique 
of men, can secure the millions that made wealth 
in your da}^ a burlesque and a byword. Your 
attitude toward millionaires seems to us now 
rather amusing than otherwise. You scolded, 
but took no measures to prevent. You con- 
demned what your laws and customs clearly 
permitted, but allowed the laws and customs to 
remain. You suggested more than you proba- 
bly had in mind when you used to speak of the 
' wheel of fortune.' Every man of you helped 
to twirl that wheel, and, with every struggle by 
which you vaguely sought to remedy industrial 
evils, you only made values all the more fluc- 
tuating, and thus gave new impetus to the wheel 
and new opportunities to your speculators. 
With the establishment of our Government of 
Settled Forms came also settled values ; and the 
speculator, and consequently the millionaire, is 
now merely a picturesque memory of the remote 
past. By the same means, we also abolished the 
great army of bankrupts and men and women 
without means of support, which the ' wheel of 
fortune ' — mainly by accident of sudden vari- 



270 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

ations in value — whirled helplessly, hopelessly, 
to dependence and wretchedness. Incomes are 
less unequal now, and all are richer, and better, 
and more hopeful in consequence." 
/ "You say that your rich men have a right to 
their wealth during life. What then ? " 
" The bulk of it returns to the people." 
" But how about their relations and friends ? " 
" They can be provided for during the life of 
the rich man by the gift of Government annui- 
ties, based on a principle derived from your life 
insurance companies, whose vast interests and 
responsibilities finally passed, by an inevitable 
course of events, into the hands of the Govern- 
ment." 

" Has your Government, then, become an in- 
surance institution ? " 

'*Yes; and why shouldn't it? As the peo- 
ple's representative, it is the people's banker and 
the people's backer. It alone is competent to in- 
sure beyond all perad venture ; and we take no 
chances nowadays that are avoidable, especially 
in matters of such vital importance as this to 
public as well as private welfare. Government 
annuities form an essential element of modern 
life. By a process of development that now 
seems simple enough, but which \^as the slow 
growth of several generations, such annuities rev- 
olutionized the system of investment. You will 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 271 

understand that, during the process of absorption 
by the Government of all monopolies seeking con- 
trol of staple and needful products, the oppor- 
tunities for industrial investment gradually de- 
creased, while the means of the general public 
as steadily increased. Government insurance, 
in the form of life annuities, gradually took 
the place of these. By judicious management, 
under the supervision of several of the world's 
ablest financiers, these annuities were reduced 
to a system perfect in every detail. They were 
made convenient and sure as an investment ; 
and they naturally became popular. Indeed, 
they became so popular that public demand 
made them almost indispensable to the position 
of citizenship. Although there is no law to this 
effect, it is not customary for any man or woman 
to become a citizen until thus secured against 
future dependence. It is also customary, before 
marriage, for both the man and the prospective 
wife to be thus provided for ; and every child, 
before it receives the usual birth certificate, is 
supposed to have at least the minimum annuity 
that guarantees freedom from physical want. 
Thus, you see, it is considered incumbent on 
every person to be protected against future de- 
pendence ; and the requirement is so clearly for 
the best interests of individuals, as well as for 
society in general, that it has willing support 



272 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

from poor as well as rich, and is one of the chief 
civilizing' ai?:ents of modern life." 

" How does this affect the rich man ? " 

"As our laws and cnstoms allow him to hoard 
comparatively little of his wealth, annnities have 
also become his favorite form of investment, and 
many an employer has been led to grant annui- 
ties to hundreds of his employees." 

" In preference to great public benefactions 
after death ? " 

" Yes, because real public needs are no longer 
left to the accident of individual benefactors, but 
are promptly provided for out of the public 
funds. Nowadays, the local Government estab- 
lishes a library or hospital just as it would a 
bridge — because it is needed ; and we are not 
subjected to the uncertainties of waiting upon 
the caprice of individuals in the form of post- 
mortem benefactions." 

" What proportion of your people are thus 
provided for ? " 

" Nearly all. The annuity system means in- 
dependence and a certain freedom of action, 
without which citizenshij) would be open to many 
temptations and perversions. It is just at this 
point that a gulf divides the forty-ninth from 
the nineteenth century, not only in sentiment 
but in fact : no citizen in these days is abso- 
lutely dependent upon any other person so far as 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON: 273 

the necessities of life are concerned. The first 
ambition in life, for woman as well as man, is 
independent citizenship ; and both law and cus- 
tom encourage this ambition, and afford every 
practicable means for its accomplishment. What 
one of your workmen spent for beer and tobacco 
would now suffice in a few years to assure him a 
competency. To be poor without good excuse, 
and consequently to be dependent, is now to be 
in disrepute." 

" Bless me ! that sounds unjust." 
" But I assure you it is not. Public opinion, 
educated to its present standard, is never unjust. 
It does not demand the impossible of its citizens. 
It simply lends its aid to make things possible 
that were not so in your day; and then very 
properly frowns upon those who fail to use the 
opportunities it affords." 

"But I cannot help thinking that you must 
have lost a certain element of progress in thus 
making each man independent of all other men." 
*' Why? We simply make him a free man, as 
he formerly claimed to be, but was not. We 
now know what liberty — liberty of action — 
really means. We discover that it means true 
manhood and womanhood. It means happiness 
unclouded by care or fear. It means free and 
full development of one's best abilities. It means 
the banishment of an army of evils that previ- 



274 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

ously blocked the progress of civilization : star- 
vation, penury, theft, prostitution, compulsory 
marriage, child-labor, and a multitude of others 
that will readily occur to you, which too often 
had their rise in immediate want, or fear of it in 
the future, on the part of self or those depen- 
dent." 

" Your report is so pleasing," said Paul, " that 
it blinds my judgment ; but I still cannot help 
thinking that such independence must mean an- 
nihilation of ambition in a large class. ' In the 
sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread ' was in 
my day a truth that did not need the authority 
of Holy Writ. We used to be taught and to 
believe that, excej^t for the struggle for life and 
the ambitions that maintained that struggle, life 
would hardly be worth living." 

" That was one of those half-truths that are 
worse than falsehoods, because more difficult to 
disprove. All I can say is that time and experi- 
ence have utterly refuted its conclusions. We 
no longer have cause to struggle for the bare 
necessities of life ; but, for that very reason, our 
ambitions of youth, our highest and best ambi- 
tions, — now no longer liable to be strangled by 
petty cares of mere animal existence, — are given 
an opportunity for realization to a degree of 
which the nineteenth century had no conception. 
You have already looked about you with search- 



THE CRYSTAL BUTT OX. 275 

ing eyes. What are the tokens you have ob- 
served ? Have you not seen evidences of exalted 
ambition everywhere apparent ? " 

Paul was about to answer with great decision, 
when Madam entered the room, exclaiming : 
*' Come, come at once ! I believe it is already 
in sight." 

The Professor arose precipitately. " Impos- 
sible ! " He glanced at his watch. " Perfectly 
impossible, my dear ! " 

" Come and see for yourself." And she put 
an arm about him, and drew the trembling man 
to the terrace, Paul closely following. One 
glance, and the Professor sank into a chair, 
saying : " My reputation is undone ! I can no 
longer answer for consequences. That is the 
position and this is the very instant prophesied 
by Professor Pessim, and he has already settled 
up his earthly affairs. Well, let us use our eyes 
and our understandings to the last." He drew 
his wife's face to his, while Paul discreetly left 
the aged couple, and proceeded to the group of 
young people surrounding the telescope. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

The Passage of the Comet, 

The scene that met Paul's gaze, as he leaned 
on the railing at the edge of the terrace, was of 
indescribable brilliancy. As Madam had said, 
the whole world was in the open air. Streets 
and sidewalks were filled with slowly moving 
processions of people ; dwellings, shops, and 
places of amusement showed their doors and 
windows filled with eager throngs ; and most 
striking of all were the house terraces, deco- 
rated with colored lanterns, where, amid bowers 
of rhododendrons and other evergreen plants, 
were gathered households and their friends, some 
sipping tea or creams, but nearly all now en- 
gaged with their opera-glasses, scanning the lu- 
minous stranger that was just coming into view 
on the eastern horizon. 

Utter silence characterized the scene, which 
might otherwise have been one of ordinary 
merry-making. No music was heard; and those 
who spoke, did so in whispers. There was a so- 
lemnity abroad that Paul could only liken to that 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 211 

which he once experienced in early manhood, 
during a visit to a foreign cathedral, when the 
host was elevated, and a sonorous bell sounded 
what seemed a call to judgment. He felt, as he 
did then, like bowing himself to the ground be- 
fore some unseen but majestic presence. He- 
looked about him to see what others were doing. 
They appeared almost as quiescent as they were 
silent. He was oppressed by a sudden sensation 
as if they were ghosts, or as if he were a ghost 
in the midst of an assembly of men and women, 
between whom and himself existed a barrier of 
cloud through which he could only hopelessly 
grope, and find naught that was palpable. He 
pressed his hands to his temples as if in pain, — 
but he felt no pain. Then he heard, distinctly 
but distantly, a familiar voice which said : " A 
few moments, and all will be done. Have no 
fear!" 

Then for the first time there fell upon him a 
sensation of abject terror. He rose hastily from 
the lounge where he found he had thrown him- 
self ; and a hand grasped his, while the speaker 
took his place on the lounge and drew him to a 
seat beside him. Paul looked up in alarm. It 
was the face of Professor Prosper that met his 
gaze — or was this Dr. Clarkson? — how like Dr. 
Clarkson ! — and the first words that followed 
were a repetition of those he had just heard : 



278 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

"Have no fear!" but somehow they had a dif- 
ferent intonation. If it was the Professor who 
spoke now, it could not have been he who spoke 
before. Yet it must have been, — it must have 
been ! And the same voice that last spoke now 
spoke again, saying : " This comet has been seen 
and studied once before during the historical 
period. That was in the century following yours, 
and in the year preceding the first a23pearance in 
public of John Costor. Like him, it came un- 
heralded. The multitude, who are always liable 
to associate contemporaneous events as cause 
and effect, were wont afterward to look upon it 
as his herald, and they consequently gave it his 
name. Perhaps there may have been an element 
of cause and effect which the multitude never 
understood. So portentous a spectacle subdued 
the public mind to a point of unusual humility. 
Some foretold that it meant the approaching end 
of the world. The natural result of such a con- 
viction was a deepened sense of the fleeting char- 
acter of the present life and the all-importance 
of that which was to come. When this expecta- 
tion failed of realization, it was then prophesied 
that the heavenly visitor probably augured the 
coming of a prophet. The need of a prophet 
was felt ; and in response to that need he came, 
in the person of John Costor, who was the em- 
bodied presence of the world's dream and yearn- 
ing at that period." 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 279 

" Please tell me something, Professor, of the 
appearance of the comet as it then passed the 
earth." 

" There is little to tell. It was one of those 
things that conld not be told. But its appear- 
ance as it approached was admirably photo- 
graphed in countless numbers of views, some of 
which you can see in my library. Recall the 
largest and brightest comet that appeared in 
your time. This one was many thousand times 
greater than any before recorded. It had been 
observed for many months in the far distance, 
gradually approaching our system. Interest in 
its movements increased day by day, and it 
finally became the all-absorbing topic. As it drew 
nearer, it rapidly developed a nucleus of extraor- 
dinary magnitude and brilliancy, from which 
spread away in divergent streams its enormous 
train, spanning the entire vault of heaven like a 
bow, and casting a shadow quite equal to that of 
the full moon. Its path nearly coincided with 
the plane of the ecliptic, but, unlike the planets, 
it moved from east to west. This great bod\% 
with its deep enveloping mass of hydrogen, as 
shown by the spectroscope, moved in a flat para- 
bola almost directly toward the sun, foretokening 
a short perihelion distance, if not actual collision 
with the source of light. Some apprehension 
was then felt by astronomers that, on its return, 



280 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

it might pass in dangerous proximity to our orb ; 
but as the actual distance at perihelion could 
not be known until after the passage, the width 
of parabola would be less as the comet passed 
nearer to the sun, or greater as it made a longer 
turn. Thus, although nearly in the plane of our 
orbit, it might not come nearer to us on its re- 
turn than on its approach to the hot bath in the 
sun's atmosphere." 

" And what in fact happened ? " 

•' As it became lost in the rays of the sun, all 
eyes were watching for its reappearance on the 
western limb ; but nothing could be seen. Weeks 
passed, but no comet ! It was evident that one 
of two things must have happened : either the 
great body had plunged headlong into the sun, 
or it was in process of flight so directly in a 
straight line from the sun to the earth as to be 
totally obscured by the sun's rays. Opinions 
were divided. If the latter supposition were 
true, the time of its nearest approach to the 
earth had been calculated from its known veloc- 
ity; and the majority of the best mathemati- 
cians were of the opinion that its second advent 
could only mean the world's destruction. Under 
these circumstances, it was natural that the 
world's inhabitants should be oppressed by a 
grievous doubt, and stirred by the strongest pos- 
sible incentive to religious fervor. Expectations 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 281 

were not wholly disappointed. It did reappear, 
and in a position very nearly in a direct line 
from the sun, but the divergence was sufficient 
to prevent the catastrophe feared. The rush of 
its dreadful presence as it fled past our af- 
frighted globe was by far the most appalling 
spectacle that humanity ever had an opportunity 
to look upon. As a matter of fact, no eyes ac- 
tually looked upon it as it passed, — it was more 
blinding than the sun." 

" Is it expected that to-night's visitation will 
resemble that which you have just described ? " 

" Yes, in most features ; but it will be all the 
more brilliant for the reason that it comes at 
night. Its course is not precisely the same, and 
it will probably not approach as near ; but it is 
just at this point that authorities differ ; and, as 
I have told you, its appearance at this hour puts 
to confusion the theories I have occupied years 
in developing. At present, I have no more idea 
what to expect than you have, but it is only fair 
to you to confess that the course and time-table 
it is now following point to the correctness of 
my opponents' theories, who have prophesied the 
worst. The God who made us now holds us in 
his hand ! " 

With this ejaculation, the Professor returned 
to his wife's side, and his children gathered 
closely around Hm. Paul remained alone, till 



282 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

Smudge crept to his side, trembling violently. 
He felt a sudden chilL There was no further 
need of examining the approaching visitor 
through the telescope, which now stood idle, 
casting its dark line like a bar sinister across 
the sky. Dimmer and dimmer grew the lights 
in the streets and along the terraces, until they 
— and with them, all the people — paled into 
complete obscurity. Brighter and brighter grew 
the heavens, and nearer and nearer swept the 
glowing fire-sphere, till it became a sun — till its 
heat grew scorching — till the world's envelop- 
ing atmosphere burst into a crackling sheet of 
flame — till all things crashed about the trem- 
bling spectator — till all was blackness — till, 
tiU — 



PAET VI. 

CONCLUSION. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

A Ray of Moonlight. 

The very chamber, 'with the eye of its night- 
lamp shaded, yet alert, had a look of expectancy 
about it. It was in the small hours of the 
night. Now and then a white face peered be- 
tween the curtains of the doorway. From the 
bed came the sound of regular breathing, then 
a sigh, a gentle movement ; and the one who 
lay there awoke by slow degrees, and looked 
vasfuelv about him. At last his eyes fell on a 
square of moonlight that lit with pale flame the 
otherwise obscure pattern of the carpet. His 
attention became gradually fixed upon it. 

" Why, what does that mean ? " he mur- 
mured. " To-morrow is Christmas, and the 
moon fulled on the first day of the month. She 
is now in the middle of her last quarter, and 
ouo:ht not to be in the southwest until to-mor- 
row." 



284 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON: 

Apparently the thought came to him that he 
might be dreaming ; and, as if to still the doubt, 
he turned in the bed and whispered : " Mary, 
are you asleep ? " 

The curtains closing the adjoining room were 
quickly parted, and the pale face of the watcher 
drew near to his. "What is it, Paul?" The 
voice trembled with excitement, as well it might, 
for ten years had passed since he last called her 
by name. 

*' Mary, what is the meaning of that moon- 
light on the carpet ? " 

" Oh, I see, — the curtain is raised." And 
she walked to the window with the evident pur- 
pose of drawing the shade. 

" No, no ; that is not what I mean. Is n't to- 
morrow Christmas?" 
" "Yes." 

"And did n't the moon full on the first? And, 
if so, how can it be shining from the southwest 
at this time of night ? That 's what puzzles me." 

" Paul, you know much more about such 
things than I do. But don't try to study it out 
to-night. Wait till morning, dear." 

He closed his eyes, and said with a voice as 
if from afar: "Oh, I understand, Professor; 
they are the rays from the comet." 

He became restless, and made several requests 
which Mary was unable to comprehend. 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 285 

"Where is Smudge?" he asked abruptly. 

The dog was called, and took his accustomed 
place on the bearskin rug that lay by the bed- 
side ; and Paul rested a hand on the shaggy 
neck. 

" Smudge must be tired. I am. I only wish 
I could be sure whether that is the light of the 
moon or of the comet." 

'" To-morrow we will ask Dr. Clarkson about 
it," said Mary soothingly ; and she stroked his 
forehead with her soft, cool hand until his meas- 
ured breathing told that he was once more 
"asleep. Then she slipped to her knees, raining 
tears upon his hand ; and her whole heart went 
out in a fervent prayer that the moonlight, 
which had clearly penetrated into the long dark- 
ened chambers of his mind, might soon give 
place to the illumination of full day. 

What a long mental sleep that had been from 
which this husband now seemed to be awaken- 
ing — and oh, how sorrowful beyond human 
speech to the waiting wife ! As she recognized 
that the happiest prophecies of the doctors 
seemed now about to be realized, she became 
filled with a growing excitement and joy that 
made action necessary, and for some minutes 
she paced rapidly up and down the hallway, 
with hands clenched — with tears streaming. 
Then she returned, and sat by his bedside until 



286 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

daybreak, stroking liis forehead whenever he 
showed signs of restlessness, and reviewing again 
and again the events of the momentous ten years 
that were passed. 

So much had happened, — so much that was 
disheartening, so little that was pleasant to re- 
call ! In the darkness of the nightwatch, the sad 
scenes presented themselves earliest and often- 
est. She dwelt upon every incident of that far- 
away Christmas night when the accident hap- 
pened, until it seemed like yesterday. Then, 
more or less connectedly, she followed the sub- 
sequent course of events. 

She remembered how financial troubles had 
gradually compassed her about, till sympathiz- 
ing Dr. Clarkson had lent a hand, and, among 
the invalid's papers, discovered cei'tain patents 
which he pronounced worth a fortune to any 
one who had the skill and the means to develop 
them. 

She remembered how Will Clarkson, the 
doctor's son, had then made one of those patent- 
papers the nucleus of his first law case ; and how 
the suit against a railway company had dragged 
through the courts until on the point of failure 
from lack of further funds, when her brother 
Tom, from Brazil, had appeared on the scene, 
so tanned, bearded, and rotund that she scarcely 
recognized him as the slender youth who had 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 287 

kissed her good-by fifteen years before ; but his 
brotherly love was past all mistaking. What 
a providence his return had proved ! Backed 
by the ample capital and resolute business qual- 
ities that he and his partner, Tom Hamlin, had 
been able to lend to the undertaking, that initial 
lawsuit had been speedily pushed to a success- 
ful termination, carrying a hundred others in 
its wake ; and wealth beyond her wildest hopes 
had wrought a change in her fortunes. 

She remembered with special j^leasure how 
she had lived over her own happy girlhood as 
she watched the courtship between her daugh- 
ter and Will Clarkson. And now, joy of joys ! 
if the promise of this night was not disap- 
pointed, Paul would be able to be an inter- 
ested spectator at the approaching nuptials. 

And gladdest of all, she recalled every in- 
cident of the recent Thanksgiving-Day gather- 
ing, when hope, though very faint at first, had 
reentered her widowed heart. For the first time 
in many years, she had then converted her home 
into a house of merry-making. Tliere were that 
day gathered at Paul's dinner-table all the 
friends who had contributed to the present for- 
tunes of his family : Brother Tom and his wife 
and children, Mr. Hamlin and his family. Dr. 
Clarkson and Will. Paul was also present, and 
Mary could not help thinking that he also felt 



288 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

the genial influences of the cheerful company, 
though he never smiled or said a word. Shortly 
after the meal, Will had strolled into the li- 
brary, where Paul lay upon the lounge, taking 
his usual after-dinner nap. He noticed that the 
sun poured full upon the head of the sleeping 
man, from which fever had recently stripped 
every vestige of hair, and he was about to shut 
out the sunlight, when his attention was attracted 
by an appearance of a deviation of the median 
line and a slight general depression on one side 
of it, which the sense of touch could scarcely be 
expected to detect, but which the strong sunlight, 
striking it at an angle, now threw into promi- 
nence. Will's powers of observation were nat- 
urally acute, and a single glance suggested a 
swift train of thought that was not unnatural to 
one who had been brought up in the constant 
companionship of a skilled physician. 

" What a magnificent head he has ! From 
that treasure-house have already proceeded me- 
chanical wonders that lend might to the world's 
arm ; and others no doubt still sleep there, only 
awaiting the wand of some magician. Father 
was never able to discover that the brain was 
injured, but is it not possible that suspension of 
mental activity might result from the appar- 
ently slight cause to which the sun now points 
the finger ? " 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 289 

He called his father to the room. A careful 
inspection that Dr. Clarkson then made resulted 
in his promptly calling a consultation of experts, 
and in the medical operation that had just now 
occurred. Would it be successful? This was 
the question in which the watcher by the bed- 
side was now interested to a degree that almost 
paralyzed her power of thought. The incident of 
his awakening this night in what appeared full 
possession of his faculties was certainly a cheer- 
ing- harbinger. If its promise should hold true, 
what a change was in store for her! Life had 
shown to Mary Prognosis many glimpses of sun- 
shine, but now — now all clouds seemed about 
to leave her sky. She had to restrain herself to 
keep from waking the sleeper and demanding of 
him: "Paul, Paul! tell me,— have you come 
back to me? — and have you come back to 
stay?'' She did not again leave his bedside. 
She «at there, with his hand in hers, until the 
moonlight paled, the morning twilight began to 
cast aside its torpor of chill silence, and the red 
daybreak flashed into the room. 



CHAPTER XXXin. 

Sunlight, and '^ Good-Morning I '* 

Christmas morning dawned crisp and bright. 
To Mary's ears came the distant jingle of sleigh- 
bells; and her weary eyes were greeted by a 
rosy glow that sparkled from the snowy roofs. 
Presently a church clock sounded. The bell 
gave the muffled note that told the presence of 
freshly fallen snow ; but its summons evidently 
reached the senses of the sleeper, and he slowly 
awakened, raised himself up on an elbow, and 
said cheerfully : '^' Well, well ! Good-morning ! 
You 're up before me tliis tinie. A Merry 
Christmas to you, my dear I '* 

" The merriest of my life I '' she said, as she 
bent down and kissed him. 

" You deserve the merriest. And, by the way, 
I brought home for you yesterday a little pres- 
ent. You will find it in the eash-pocket of my 
blouse." 

With a strange light in her eyes, Maiy has- 
tened to the store-room, flung open a camphor 
chest, and took from it the garment that had 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 291 

lain there unused all these years. In the pocket, 
as he had said, was a jeweler's box, wrapped in 
tissue paper and tied with a pink string. Re- 
turning to his bedside, she opened it in his 
presence, and with trembling fingers drew forth 
a ring set with a single diamond, that caught 
the glory of the morning and glittered like a 
star. With, tear-dimmed eyes, she watched the 
look of intelligence and happiness with which 
Paul followed her every movement ; then sud- 
denly she lost control of her feelings, and knelt 
beside him without power to utter a word of 
thanks. 

" Why," said Paul, " I really believe you are 
crying ! Why should you ? " 

" For joy." 

" You are so pleased with the ring ? " 

"Yes; but a thousand times more pleased 
because I now know that you are going to be 
well again." 

"Have I been ill? Has anything been the 
matter with me? I do feel a little faint this 
morning, but I cannot think why. What is this 
bandage about my head ? Have I been hurt ? " 

" You had a fall, you know." 

"A fall? I seem to remember that there was 
some trouble last night, somewhere, about some- 
thing. It was at the bridge. I begin to re- 
call it now. Old Jake Cummings needed my 



292 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

help, and I tried to give it. Did I succeed ? 
Is Jake all right now ? " 

" All right, my dear. But I don't think we 
had better talk any more now. Everything is all 
right. And your Christmas present is beauti- 
ful. I thank you, Paul." 

When Dr. Clarkson entered the chamber an 
hour later, a single sweeping glance at the pa- 
tient and the smiling watcher told him the story. 
He greeted Paul familiarly, felt his pulse, and 
merely recommended perfect quiet for a few 
days. "This is one of the cases, Mrs. Prog- 
nosis, where ' waiting will be the wisest speed.' 
He evidently thinks the accident happened last 
evening. The intervening ten years are a per- 
fect blank to him. For the present, it is bet- 
ter that he should not be undeceived. Let the 
knowledge come gradually. Tell him nothing 
except in answer to direct questions. His eyes 
show clearly that his mind is unimpaired. The 
mental machinery is now again in running or- 
der, but it must be allowed to take up its tasks 
gradually." 

In the evening, Paul asked to see his daugh- 
ter, and in the dim light she came to his side. 

" I am Patty. Do you remember me ? " 

"I remember a little girl who kissed me 
good-by when I left the house yesterda}?^ morn- 
ing ; but you, — why, you are Mary, just as she 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 293 

looked when she first came to this house as a 
bride, and made me the happiest man in Boston." 

After this interview he seemed a little con- 
fused, and no one else was allowed to see him 
until New- Year's Day, when the doctor decided 
that he was strong enough to know more, and 
that fuller knowledge would assist rather than 
retard the working of his faculties. " You see," 
he explained to the family, " before Paul Progno- 
sis takes up life again, there must necessarily 
be a long succession of shocks in his ideas, as 
he gradually adjusts these to the many altered 
conditions of life which he will discover. To 
reveal all at once would be enough to paralyze 
the faculties of a man in perfect health. We 
must let him slowly pick up for himself the 
scattered threads, only proffering information 
when we think it would assist him in arrang- 
ing them." 

One May morning the doctor entered, bear- 
ing a spray of apple blossoms, which, he noticed, 
seemed to strangely agitate his patient. 

"Ah! that is the emblem of John Costor," 
said Paul. 

" And who is John Costor?" 

Paul looked abashed. " That belongs to my 
past." Then, taking the physician's hand in 
his, he suddenly added : " Doctor, I must tell 
some one, — let me tell you I I understand now 



294 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

that I have been ill for a long time, — for years ; 
and that, during that time, I have lived in a 
dream-land. I seem now and then to flutter be- 
tween that land and this. For instance, the 
sight of those apple blossoms, the sight of the dia- 
mond on my wife's finger — and like a flash I 
am transported to the dream city of Tone and 
to the civilization of John Costor." 

" Tell me something about it," said the doc- 
tor kindly. And he allowed Paul to talk as 
long as he thought advisable. 

"Prognosis," he then said, " some time I hope 
you will let me wander with you throughout 
your city of Tone. But now, it is best that 
you should think as little about it as you can. 
I will help you. You have now given me the 
key how to help you. I am going to confide to 
you some new things to think about." And he 
gave Paul a short sketch of some of the events 
that had happened in the world during the ten 
years' interim. 

He carefully watched the effect of his an- 
nouncements upon his attentive listener. There 
was no visible sign of any ill effect. They 
seemed rather to calm him. 

The doctor continued : " And now. Progno- 
sis, there is one further piece of news which I 
know will make you glad. As you have seen, 
your daughter Patty has grown meantime into a 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 295 

beautiful woman. I know a young man who 
has asked her to help him found a new home. 
That young man is my son Will. I want to 
ask you for Patty as a daughter-in-law. Have 
you any objections ? " 

" None ; and I began to think, from the man- 
ner of the young people, that this was likely to 
come about." 

" That shows progress. In a few days you 
will evidently be prepared to take a look at that 
electric engine of yours. Let me tell you now 
that your brother-in-law Glide and liis partner, 
Hamlin, have got it going, and it's a world's 
wonder ! " 

" I knew it would be, and I had hopes that I 
should be able, some time, to open a factory for 
developing it. By the way, doctor, what are 
those great new works whose walls I see just 
across the square?" 

" They constitute a city of Tone that your 
mind conceived, which has been wrought out in 
actual brick and mortar. Lean upon me, and 
come to the window. Can you read the sign 
that surmounts the roof ? " 

Under the influence of this skillful manner of 
introduction, Paul was able, without a tremor, 
to decipher the words, — 

*' PKOGNOSIS ENGINE WORKS : 1876." 



296 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" You did n'fc imagine, did yon," continued 
the doctor, '^ tliat we should wait all these years 
before getting your engine into running order ? 
My dear Prognosis, we 've done some watching 
and waiting, but we 've done still more work- 
ing. Now, all your friends ask is that you will 
rest a little while longer. It 's your turn to do 
some watching and waiting, so that you can do 
some working later on. You '11 find plenty to 
do, and you are going to be perfectly capable of 
doing it. For the present, don't ask too many 
questions — that 's the chief requisite. Is it a 
bargain ? " 

" It 's a bargain." 

" And is it also agreed that Patty may be my 
daughter-in-law ? " 

" If the young j>eople so elect. ' 

"Oh, don't trouble yourself about that. I 
now give up my charge in favor of those who 
can better explain the particulai's." 

iMary came and took her seat beside him, 
while Patty and Will put their hands in his. 
Teai-s dimmed Paul's eyes so that he could not 
see their features distinctly, but he looked up with 
a smile and said very quietly : '' My dear ones, 
this is indeed a glad day in the new year. May 
you in your lives realize every hope that is sym- 
bolized in this spray of apple blossoms and in 
the cr}^stal button." 



THE CRYSTAL BCTTOy. 297 

" The crystal button — what is that ? " asked 
Patty. 

" To explain that woiikl be a long- story. 
Some time I will tell it to you. Meanwhile, I 
want you and Will to each wear such a button 
for ray sake. Later, I hope you will wear it for 
its own sake, — for what it means. Mother, 
please let me have two of those glass buttons 
which I saw in your work-basket the other 
day." 

Before she handed them to him, slie went to 
the bureau and unlocked a little jewel-case. 
" And here, Paul, is another such button, which 
you held in your hand when they brought you 
home to me after the accident. I think it must 
have slipped from old Jake's neck when you res- 
cued him." 

" Strange," said the doctor, " that a trifling 
incident like that could have exerted so pow- 
erful an influence over a brain that had ap- 
parently ceased all action ! It seems that the 
death - clutch you gave that button, Prognosis, 
— probably the last fleeting impression you re- 
ceived before unconsciousness, — has never been 
relaxed in all these years." 

" Will you wear one, too, doctor ? — and you, 
Mary ? " 

When Mary's ready needle had attached each 
in its appropriate place, Paul added solemnly : 



298 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

" I now ask you all to repeat with me these 
words. Are you ready ? " 

" We are ready, father." 

" Aud I 'm with you, Prognosis," added the 
doctor. 

" ' / will try^ from this moment henceforth^ 
to he true and honest in my every act, word, 
and thought ; and this crystal button I ivill 
wear while the spirit of triith abides with me.^ " 

"In this same place of safe keeping," said 
Mary, " is the watch you wore that day. Will 
has had it put in order. Is n't this, Paul, a 
good opportunity to wind it and set it in mo- 
tion ? " 

" Yes, dear. To-day, time begins for me once 
more. What is the hour ? " 



POSTSCRIPT. 

I, Paul Prognosis, recently restored to 
health, have committed to paper, by dictation, 
the substance of the cha])ters that form this 
book. I have been led to do this partly in ful- 
fillment of promises to my family, and i)artly in 
response to the oft-expressed wish of my friend, 
Dr. Clarkson, who has taken scientific inter- 
est in my occasional references to the world 
of fancy wherein I so long dwelt, and has ear- 
nestly requested that I furnish him with as full 
an account as possible of all my recollections, 
however vague and disconnected they may now 
appear. 

He has particularly desired that I should en- 
deavor to fix the duration of the period covered 
by these imaginings, and he has lent what assist- 
ance he could by suggesting correspondences 
with real events. Were these impressions con- 
veyed to my mind by certain brief flashes, as in 
a dream or in the last semi-conscious moment of 
a drowning person, the remainder of my waking 
hours being passed in total mental oblivion ? 
Or did I continue to be a part of these mind- 



300 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

pictures during the ten years of my mental 
aberration, leading a life among the scenes here 
described that had all the apparent reality of 
life in the material world ? I am at a loss to 
determine this point. If the former were the 
case, the main dream would seem to have oc- 
curred soon after the accident and to have left 
a lasting impression, for the doctor tells me 
that nearly all my mutterings and answers to 
questions, from the very beginning of my illness, 
become perfectly coherent when applied to the 
conditions and surroundings indicated by this 
story of my inner life. On the other hand, I 
seem to recall the loss of my hair as among the 
earliest of my recollections, while, as a matter 
of fact, this occurred during the last half-year 
of my illness. After careful deliberation, I find 
myself unable to offer conclusive evidence on 
this point ; and any one of my friends, ac- 
quainted with the incidents of my life, is as 
capable as I am of making a correct judgment. 
One further fact, that has greatly interested 
Dr. Clarkson, may also appeal to the sympa- 
thies of those who have taken the trouble to 
hereby acquaint themselves with the dream city 
of Tone. Although I am now in perfect health, 
and happy in the active exercise of all my 
faculties, I have been accustomed, ever since my 
recovery, to spend all my sleeping hours in that 



THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 301 

same dream city, and among the same familiar 
scenes and faces, that I have here described. I 
consequently continue to lead two lives that are 
perfectly distinct ; and in whichever city I find 
myself at the moment, whether Boston or Tone, 
that seems the real and the other the dream 
city. In spite of Dr. Clarkson's confident 
assurances to the contrary, I sometimes enter- 
tain a suspicion — it can hardly be called a fear, 
for it is not unpleasant — that the dual life I 
now lead may some day again melt into one, and 
that one the world of fancy. Mary always 
hastens to change the subject when I allude to it ; 
but sometimes I cannot help whispering to myself 
that it may be a boon vouchsafed to me 
that, if entire mental rest should again become 
requisite, I may once more be permitted to 
spend some of my waking as well as sleeping 
hours amid the placid scenes of beauty and har- 
mony that constitute Tone, the City of Truth, 
— my veritable heaven on earth. What then ? 
Life has many experiences that are less to be 
desired ; and what city of the after-life Death 
holds in his sacred keeping, I know not. Per- 
chance — who shall say nay ? — each one of us 
is now building his own, even as I have build ed 
Tone. 

Well, well ! if so it should be, and if the 
society of my family should again be denied me. 



302 THE CRYSTAL BUTTON. 

I only hope that faithful Smudge may once 
more bear me company. His head rests on my 
knee as I now write, and the intelligent and 
affectionate look he gives me seems an unspoken 
promise that this wish shall be gratified, if it 
depends on efforts of which he is capable. 

Paul Prognosis. 

Boston, Mass., February 9, 1878. 



aiTorfi^ of ifictioiT* 



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OTorfe0 of Sfittion 



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Morfe0 of jfittion 5 



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6 OTorfeg of iTiction 

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10 OTotfesf of jfittion 

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OTorfe^ of ifiction ii 

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12 OTorfefi? of jfittion 

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OTlorfeg of jrtction 13 

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OTorfe0 of jTicticn 15 



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1 6 OTorbs; of S[ittion 

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OTorhsi of j?iction i7 



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OTorfe0 of jfiction 19 

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20 OTotfes; of jfittion 

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OT[orfe0 of i?ictiou 21 

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Edward King". 

The Golden Spike. i2mo, $1.50. 



I. 


Exile. 


7. 


Romance. 


13- 


2. 


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8. 


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14. 


3- 


Tragedy. 


9- 


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15- 


4- 


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10. 


Childhood. 


16. 


5- 


Laughter. 


II. 


Heroism. 


17- 



22 OTorfe0 of j?iction 

Mr. King is a writer whom we shall look out for ; and now that 
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OTorfe0 of j?tction 23 



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24 Mlorfe0 of ^ittion 



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OTorfe0 of Sfittion 25 

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26 OTorfeg of J?iction 

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Aldrich. 

19. A Daughter of Eve, By Ellen Olney Kirk. 



OTorfeg of jFiction 27 

20. A Marsh Island. By Sarah O. Jewett. 

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Picciola. Illustrated. i6mo, ^i.oo. 



28 Motfesf of jriction 

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Morfe0 of fiction 29 

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30 Morlts? of jftm'on 

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The best collection of short stories we have read for many a day. 
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The sketches of scenery are as true as they are telling, and the 
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Stun's story. — Literary World (London). 

William Makepeace Thackeray. 

Complete Works. Illustrated Library Edi- 



Wiox^s of i?tctton 31 

tion. Including two newly compiled volumes, con- 
taining material not hitherto collected in any Amer- 
ican or English Edition. With Biographical and 
Bibliographical Introductions, Portrait, and over 1600 
Illustrations. 22 vols, crown 8vo, each, $1.50. The 
set, $33.00 ; half calf, $60.50 ; half levant, $77.00. 

1. Vanity Fair. I. 12. Irish Sketch Book, 

2. Vanity Fair. II.; etc. 

Lovel the Widower. 13. The Four Georges, 

3. Pendennis. I. etc. 

4. Pendennis. II. 14. Henry Esmond. 

5. Memoirs of Yellow- 15. The Virginians, J- 

plush. 16. The Virginians. II. 

6. Burlesques, etc. 17. Philip. I. 

7. History of Samuel 18. Philip. II.; Catherine. 

Titmarsh, etc. 19. Roundabout Papers, 

8. Barry Lyndon and etc. 

Denis Duval. 20. Christmas Stories, etc. 

9. The Newcomes. I. 21. Contributions to Punch, 

10. The Newcomes. IL etc. 

11. Paris Sketch Book, 22. Miscellaneous Essays. 

etc. 

The Introductory Notes are a new feature of great value in this 
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ing detail about the origin and fortunes of separate works that can 
be gathered from the literature about Thackeray. The introduc- 
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Maurice Thompson. 

A Tallahassee Girl. i6mo, ^i.oo; paper, 

50 cents. 

Among the very best of recent American stones, and very far 
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Times. 

Ticknor s Paper Series. 

For Leisure-Hour and Railroad Reading. 
Each volume, i6mo, paper, 50 cents. 



32 OTorfefif of jfittion 

1. The Story of Margaret Kent. By Ellen Olney 

Kirk. 

2. Guenn. By Blanche Willis Howard. 

4. A Reverend Idol. A Massachusetts Coast Ro- 

mance. 

5. A Nameless Nobleman. By Jane G. Austin. 

6. The Prelate, A Roman Story. By Isaac Hen- 

derson. 

7. Eleanor Maitland. By Clara Erskine Clement. 

8. The House of the Musician. By Virginia W. 

Johnson. 

9. Geraldine. A Metrical Romance of the St. Law- 

rence. 
ID, The Duchess Emilia. By Barrett Wendell. 

11. Dr. Breen's Practice. By W. D. Howells. 

12. Tales of Three Cities. By Henry James. 

13. The House at High Bridge. By Edgar Fawcett, 

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15. The Confessions of a Frivolous Girl. By Robert 

Grant. 

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17. Patty's Perversities. By Arlo Bates. 

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21. Damen's Ghost. By Edwin Lassetter Bynner. 

22. A Woman's Reason. By W. D. Howells. 

23. Nights with Uncle Remus. By Joel Chandler 

Harris. 

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25. A Tallahassee Girl. By Maurice Thompson. 

27. A Fearful Responsibility. By W. D. Howells. 

28. Homoselle. By Mary S. Tiernan. 

29. A Moonlight Boy. By E. W. Howe. 

30. Adventures of a Widow. By Edgar Fawcett. 

31. Indian Summer. By W. D. Howells. 

32. The Led-Horse Claim. By Mary Hallock Foote, 

33. Len Gansett. By Opie P. Read. 

34. Next Door. By Clara Louise Burnham. 



Morfeg of jrtction 33 

35. The Minister's Charge. By W. D. Howells. 

36. Sons and Daughters. By Ellen Olney Kirk. 
yj. Agnes Surriage. By Edwin Lassetter Bynner. 

39. Two College Girls. By Helen Dawes Brown. 

40. The Rise of Silas Lapham. By W. D. Howells. 

41. A Mexican Girl. By Frederick Thickstun. 

42. Aulnay Tower. By Blanche Willis Howard. 

43. The Pagans. By Arlo Bates. 

44. Fortune's Fool. By Julian Hawthorne. 

45. Doctor Ben. By Orlando Witherspoon. 

46. John Bodewin's Testimony. By Mary Hallock 

Foote. 

47. Rachel Armstrong; or, Love and Theology. By 

Celia Parker Woolley. 

48. Two Gentlemen of Boston. 

49. The Confessions of Claud. By Edgar Fawcett- 

50. His Two Wives. By Mary Clemmer. 

51. The Desmond Hundred. By Jane G. Austin. 

52. A Woman of Honor. By H. C. Bunner. 

53. Forced Acquaintances. By Edith Robinson. 

54. Under Green Apple-Boughs. By Helen Campbeii. 

55. Fools of Nature. By Alice Brown. 

56. Dust. By Julian Hawthorne. 

57. The Story of an Enthusiast. By Mrs. C. V. 

Jamison. 
5S. Queen Money. By Ellen Olney Kirk. 

There is not a poor novei, in the series. I have been asked to 
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can buy. 1 have no hesitation in naming most of the numbers in 
this series. — Boston Advertiser. 

Mary S. Tiernan. 

Homoselle. i6mo, $i.oo; paper, 50 cents. 
Jack Horner. i6mo, ^1.25. 

Mary Agnes Tincker. 

Two Coronets. i2mo, $1.50. 



34 OToi1?0 of iftction 

Two Gentlemen of Boston. 

i2mo, ^1.50; paper, 50 cents. 

The writer has three of the best gifts of the novelist — imagina" 
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Gen. Lew Wallace. 

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A Tale of the Conquest of Mexico. 77th Thousand. 

i2mo, $1.50. 

We do not hesitate to say that the " Fair God " is one of the 
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of which we think few living writers capable ; and the battles are 
Homeric in their grandeur. — London Athenceiim. 

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One of the most striking features of this romance of metempsy- 
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— Springfield Republican. 



OTortfi of i?iction 35 

Richard Grant White. 

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Episode of Mr. Washington Adams in England. i6mo, 
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Bright, full of character, a little satirical, and thoroughly amus- 
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Timothy's Quest. 



36 OTorbsf of jFtction 

The Birds' Christmas Carol. With Illustra- 
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The only fault of this charming little book is that there is not 

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" Poverty Grass " is much more than a story book : it is a moral 
deed. Let those who think our social system perfect pause and 
read. — Boston Beacon. 



*.** For sale by all Booksellers. Sent, post-paid, on receipt of 
price by the Publishers, 

Houghton, Mifflin & Company^ 

4. Park Street, Boston ; 11 East lyth Street, New York. 



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